Central Coast students plan National School Walkout events Wedne - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Central Coast students plan National School Walkout events Wednesday

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Across the country and across the Central Coast, students will walk out of their classrooms Wednesday morning to protest gun violence, one month after the deadly shooting inside a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Not every campus will see a walkout, as some schools are planning events on campus with law enforcement on standby just in case.

It's a day student organizers say they've been waiting for.

"We actually sent a letter to administrators about three weeks ago advising them this walkout would take place," Arroyo Grande High School senior Casey Crouch said.

Crouch and administrators at the school have worked together closely to plan out the allowed 17 minutes of demonstration time from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. Each minute, Crouch says, represents a life lost in the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

However, the event hasn't come without controversy. Posters created by those organizing the walkout events at AGHS have been ripped down or defaced and social media accounts created for the event have been hit hard by those who oppose the event.

Crouch and AGHS Principal Dan Neff have made safety the first priority.

"The principal informed me earlier today that law enforcement will be present on campus," Crouch explained Tuesday.

Each school and district has created its own safety plan in coordination with local law enforcement departments.

The Pismo Beach Police Department says, "We are going to have a presence but it may not all be uniformed. We want to be there to make sure they're safe without changing the climate of what it's for."

Paso Robles and Atascadero police departments will have patrol units on hand if they're needed. San Luis Obispo Police Department officers said they would respond to a school should they be called, but have no indication that issues might arise that necessitate their presence.

Morro Bay police, though, will send units to the city's high school campus.

"My freshman year, my first year, we had a gun threat from a fellow student," Morro Bay High School sophomore Alexa Ford said.

Ford is part of the student leadership organizing MBHS's walkout. She said it has sparked controversy within the school, much like at Arroyo Grande High School.

"There's been a lot of 'Oh, you're trying to take guns away. Oh, you're trying to change our Second Amendment right,' when really, the Second Amendment isn't going to change now or any time in the near future, and that's not what we're trying to do," Ford explained.

The event should go smoothly, she says. Ford hopes those who participate will respect opinions on both sides. Even with officers coming to campus, she and the school administration have taken extra steps to keep the event safe.

"We also have made a point not to publicize where we're meeting in case anyone from the outside would like to interfere," Ford said.

While most districts and schools have created events or set aside time for students to participate in the National School Walkout, administrators are not allowing students to leave campus.

A statement from student organizers sent to KSBY News indicates, "San Luis Obispo High School, Arroyo Grande High School, Nipomo High School, Central Coast New Tech High School, Morro Bay High School, Templeton High School, and Cayucos Middle School will perform a school-wide walkout to promote nationwide gun safety on March 14, 2018."

More information on district and school plans are below:

Atascadero Unified School District:
Staff have been informed to stay neutral, however will provide "positive supervision and have a supportive and safe school environment." Students will be allowed to leave class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes but must remain on campus. Students who leave campus will face the same discipline as any other day. The district is "working closely with the police department," but anticipates a "peaceful, civil, and respectful situation." The events of the day have been planned by students and classes will continue for those who choose to stay in class.

Paso Robles Joint Unified School District:
"We have partnered with local law enforcement to address potential safety concerns and our site administration has collaborated with students and staff to create a positive learning experience." Student leadership groups,clubs, faculty, and administrators have worked together to plan events and activities for that help educate students about issues such as social media effects, safety protocols, and bullying prevention. "Our students have a powerful voice that can impact change and it is our duty as educators to support our students in a safe format as they grapple with the events that have occurred. We are excited to witness the collaborative work of student and staff leaders in providing such a format that speaks to safety and the value of positive relationships with the school community."

Paso Robles High School:
An extra 17 minutes has been added to the lunch period to allow students to share their thoughts and "have their voices heard."

Lucia Mar School District:
"Lucia Mar schools will set aside time on March 14, 2018, at 10 AM for students to speak out and have their voices heard. This will occur at schools where students have shown an interest in participating. Our school principals have worked with students, including student leaders to ensure this time is constructive and meaningful to students. This opportunity for 'student voice' will be on campus with parameters that keep everyone safe."

Arroyo Grande High School:
Students will walk out of classes beginning at 9:50 a.m. and events will promptly start at 10 a.m. Student organizers have planned for speakers and live performances in the quad area on school grounds. The event will last for the allowed 17 minutes.

San Luis Coastal Unified School District:
Administrators have worked with students at each school to plan out the events that will occur during National School Walkout Day. High schools, middle schools, and elementary schools have all expressed interest in participating in events related to the national event. Most on-campus events will begin at 10 a.m. Students are not allowed to leave campus and will face the same disciplinary actions Wednesday as they would any other day according to district officials.

San Luis Obispo High School:
Students have organized a walkout and subsequent events starting at 10 a.m.

Morro Bay High School:
Students have been allowed to leave class, should they choose to participate, starting at 10 a.m. Students will meet at a location on campus where student organizers will share speeches and live performances during the allowed 17 minutes. The location has not been shared publicly to maintain the safety of the event. Administrators will attend the event to maintain a safe environment and patrol units from the Morro Bay Police Department will also be on campus.

Santa Maria Valley high schools:
Students from Santa Maria Valley high schools will participate in the "peaceful National School Walkout" on Wednesday, March 14th. It's unclear how many students will participate and/or if the rain will interfere.

Santa Maria junior high schools:
Students at their sites plan to leave classes from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. and then return to their normal schedules. The students will not leave any of the campuses and have different activities scheduled. It's unclear how many students will participate and/or if the rain will interfere.

Orcutt Union School District:
"In an effort to keep all kids safe, our district has developed a plan to give our students an option to choose whether or not to participate in a peaceful, nonpolitical manner. At the elementary schools, students will be able to do a safety walk around campus, and/or complete 17 acts of kindness during a school-wide recess. At the Jr. High and High Schools, students who wish, many congregate in a designated supervised area. Those who do not wish to participate will remain in their supervised classrooms."

Related content:
Students to put pencils down, walk out in gun protests

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