Students from the Hermiston School District are expected to take part in a national school walkout on Wednesday in response to the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
The walkout is set to take place at 10 a.m. across the country and will last 17 minutes – one minute for each of the Parkland victims. Hermiston School District staff will be providing supervision of the students on school grounds.
The Associated Student Body of Hermiston High School prepared the following statement regarding Wednesday’s planned walkout:
“We, the Associated Student Body Leadership of HHS, recognize that there needs to be a solution found to end school violence. There are varied opinions and feelings associated with this topic throughout the student body and we believe there is no simple singular solution. What we know is that our students need an opportunity to voice their opinions. Therefore, during the National Walkout on March 14, at 10 a.m., for 17 minutes, we will be providing students with the means of communicating their ideas to their elected government officials at the local, state, and federal levels. We support our student body in their opinions and ability to express their ideas and concerns in a safe, appropriate, and respectful manner.”
The Hermiston School District has provided guidance to staff in preparation for the March 14 walkout to ensure student and staff safety. The following guidelines were released by the district:
- While this is a non-district sponsored event, students will be supervised should they choose to participate in the student-initiated walkout. Students have a constitutional right to free speech at school, so long as it does not disrupt the learning environment for others.
- Should HSD students choose to participate in a walkout on school grounds during school hours, access will be limited to HSD students and the staff providing their supervision. These will not be public events.
- Staff will not participate in walkouts, but they will be present to supervise students on school grounds.
- We do not expect a walkout at the elementary schools; however, staff will be ready to supervise students should it be necessary.
- At the middle school level, staff will supervise students, should they want to exercise their right to walk out.
- At the high school, staff will supervise students on school grounds. Should students choose to leave campus, they will be unsupervised.
- It is the expectation that all students return to class according to the regular schedule at the conclusion of the 17 minutes.
- Instruction will continue during any walkout event.
Other planned events are on Saturday, March 24 for the “March for Our Lives,” and on Friday, April 20 for the “National Student Walkout,” in commemoration of the Columbine shooting that occurred on April 20, 1999.
Interim Hermiston School Superintendent Tricia Mooney expressed support for the students in the district.
“I am proud of our student body leadership and the level of maturity shown in creating their proactive stance on this issue, which directly affects them,” Mooney said in a statement. “The district has a close working relationship with the Hermiston Police Department. Together we work every day to keep our schools a safe place for our students and staff. This stance will not change in light of a potential walkout.
While we understand that parents and community members may want to show their support for students, we ask that you do so off school grounds so we can conduct our safety protocol procedures. As always, if parents and community members have business to conduct during the time of the walkout, you will be required to follow all visitor/volunteer check-in processes.”