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Mendon Upton Students Remember Their Peers in Parkland

Mendon Upton Regional School district administrators have decided to "honor student voice," regarding a decision about a planned national student walk-out on March 14.

A number of nationally organized walkouts have been planned across the country to protest and memorialize the shooting the occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on February 14.

After 17 people died at the hands of a school shooter, students and adults have joined together to call on government to enact stricter gun control laws at the federal level, such as requiring universal background checks and banning assault-style military rifles, like the AR-15.

The ENOUGH National School Walkout sponsored by Women's March Youth EMPOWER group, is scheduled to for 10 a.m. on March 14, exactly one month from the Florida shooting, and is expected to last for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost.

"This is a new territory here," said Maruszczak introducing the topic at a March 12 School Committee meeting. "Our guiding principle was to engage student voice while keeping all of our student's safe."

At Miscoe Hill School, Principal Jennifer Mannion said that students had approached the administration, asking them if they could take part in the walk-out to honor the victims of the Parkland school shooting. "Although it was unanimous that the students wanted to do something as an active remembrance, the results were mixed on what to do," said Mannion.

After presenting what the students and administration initially discussed, Mannion said they came up with a way to meet the needs of all students.

"We will have a 17-minute moment of silence in their homerooms where students will be able to think, write letters to their legislatures, write letters to the Parkland School, or not engage at all if that is their wish," said Mannion. "It's not a perfect plan, but it's a doable one."

Mannion said if students choose to walkout, there will be a designated area for them during those 17 minutes, and assured parents both police and administrators will be there.

At Nipmuc, students will be given a choice during their advisory time to walk-out during the 10 a.m. hour or stay and engage with a teacher and peers during their weekly Advisory group.

Principal John Clements said that the school held a forum for parents and students to talk about school safety and plans for the walk-out. "When we talk about these things we are stronger and safer," said Clements.

Clements added students who chose to participate will be directed to a designated area on school grounds where there will be police presence. High school exits will be blocked off during that time.

Several School Committee Members praised the administration on how they were handling this issue. "I am really impressed with your response," said Member Sean Nicholson. "And the kids have shown an amazing amount of resilience through all of this."

Editor's Note: This article was written prior to the scheduled walk-out set to take place on March 14.


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