Metro schools plan for walkouts protesting gun violence

(Graphic: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Students and teachers across the country are preparing for school walkouts to protest gun violence.

It’s been nearly a month since the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Metro schools expects every high school and some middle schools to participate tomorrow, but there are some rules and some students are already planning to break them.

The district is encouraging students and teachers to find a safe place inside the schools to protest, but some students say that defeats the whole idea.

POLL: Do you support students who plan to walkout of class in protest?

“We are going to go and be activist,” Maisy Owen told News 2.

The 9th grader at Nashville School of the Arts has organized her own school walk out to the State Capitol.

“The protest is meant to be peaceful. We are going to sit on the front lawn of the State Capitol building and we are going to have signs.”

She tells us the students originally planned to walk to the capitol until school officials stepped in.

“The administrators have shut down the protest. The original idea was for the all the students to walk out of the school in symbolism and they changed it for the kids to sit in the hallways for 17 minutes in silence which I don’t agree with, because the students got shot in the hallways and we are protesting school shootings,” she explained.

She says her goal is to not only pay respect to the 17 lives lost in Parkland, but to reach law makers in hopes of changing gun laws.

“I want them to regulate gun laws. I want a longer waiting period, I want them to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21, deeper background checks,
mental health checks and the police need to know where the gun is in your house and private sellers have to shut down and they have to stop selling military weapons in places like Bass Pro Shop and WalMart.”

Owen tells us she has at least 40 students heading to the capitol tomorrow with her at 10 o’clock in the morning.

NSA is several miles away so the students will be taking the bus.

A spokesperson for Metro schools says students cannot stay away from school any longer than the nationally observed time of 17 minutes. If a student breaks the rule, they will be counted as unexcused.

Some other schools have also made plans for the walkouts:

Rutherford County has a designated place for students to go.

Williamson County students were told they can exercise their first amendment right, but will be required to make up any missed assignments…

Cheatham county schools said they are not encouraging students to participate, but have plans to manage the situation in case it happens.

The Clarksville-Montgomery County School system said students can participate if they have permission from their parents…

Dickson County Schools will dismiss 17 minutes early in honor of the 17 people who died in Florida.

Other districts may have specific plans and parents/students should respond accordingly.