How east Idaho school districts will handle students who walkout on Wednesday

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IDAHO FALLS — Some eastern Idaho students are planning to walk out of school Wednesday to honor of the one month anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead.

Students nationwide are protesting what they say is congressional inaction on gun violence at schools.

Survivors of the Florida shooting are organizing a national march in Washington, D.C. Students nationwide are being encouraged by the Women’s March Youth Empower organization to walkout for 17 minutes, one minute each to honor the 17 lives taken in the Florida tragedy.

RELATED | Schools prepare for student walkout on March 14

EastIdahoNews.com reached out to eastern Idaho school districts to see what policies are in place if students walk out of class. Here are the responses we received. We will update if additional school districts release statements.

BLACKFOOT SCHOOL DISTRICT 55

Roger Thomas, Blackfoot High School Principal, states:

Blackfoot High School supports our student’s rights to peaceful assembly and free expression. The BHS Administration has worked with our student leaders to create a plan to allow students to show respect to the 17 students that lost their lives in the Parkland school shooting and to express their concerns about school safety. The students will have the option of gathering at the school or attending their advisory class. The gathering will start at the high school track at 10:00 a.m. and last until 10:25 a.m. Students will not be disciplined for peacefully participating in the walkout. When the activity concludes, students are expected to return promptly to class. Attendance will be taken, and any student who fails to return to class will be marked absent.

BONNEVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT 93

Phil Campbell, a spokesman for the district, states:

We believe the safest place for students during a school day is in the classroom with their teachers. While we always advise students to remain in school and maximize the learning time provided for them, we recognize students’ rights to peaceful assembly and free expression. We encourage all students to be actively engaged citizens who are knowledgeable of multiple viewpoints surrounding current events in the world today. The district has no plans to punish students who choose to participate in this peaceful walkout at this time.

IDAHO FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT 91

Margaret Wimborne, a spokeswoman for the district, states:

We have asked our principals to work with their student leaders to ensure that if students choose to participate in the walkout, they do so in a positive and productive manner. We believe the best place for students is in the classroom with our teachers, but we also support our students’ rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.

Student expression is an important part of the learning process, and these kinds of events allow students to connect what they’re learning in class with what’s happening in the real life. Our goal is to graduate students with the knowledge, skills and attributes they need to be successful beyond high school, which would include being passionated and engaged citizens. We also encourage parents to talk to their children and for out students to talk to their parents about what it means to be civically engaged.

JEFFERSON SCHOOL DISTRICT 251

Lisa Sherick, Superintendent of Jefferson School District 251, states:

As with any absence from school, students should have parent permission to miss class. Without parent permission, the absence will be recorded as unverified.

MADISON SCHOOL DISTRICT 321

Geoff Thomas, Madison School District 321 Superintendent, states:

We have not heard if students from Madison are planning to walkout. However, if students choose to participate in the walkout on that day, we encourage them to speak with their parents and teachers beforehand as our attendance policies are still in place.

SHELLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT 60

Bryan Jolley, Shelley School District 60 Superintendent, states:

The district attendance policy will be enforced for students who walk out of class. Disciplinary action would be reserved for student actions that disrupt the learning environment of the school. The administrative team is encouraging teachers to have a productive discussion about school safety during their home room time. There is concern that this walk out is a nationally orchestrated event using young students to promote a specific political agenda regarding gun control legislation. Idaho has a long held tradition of supporting Second Amendment rights and this “walk out” appears to be a thinly disguised attempt to weaken those values using school safety as the reason. The conversation should focus on addressing student mental health, bullying issues, and increased vigilance and response to known threats. This topic is on the agenda for our next board meeting.

TETON SCHOOL DISTRICT 401

Monte Woolstenhulme, Teton School District 401 Superintendent, states:

We are supporting students and working with them to ensure it’s a safe learning experience. We don’t anticipate any disciplinary action.

CLICK HERE TO SEE HOW SCHOOL DISTRICTS AROUND THE STATE ARE HANDLING THE WALKOUT

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