The National School Walkout launches Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m.
Students across the state and country plan to walk out of class Wednesday, March 14 to honor the 17 teenagers killed in a Florida school shooting a month ago.
The National School Walkout is also intended to support a call for gun safety legislation.
For the protest, students will exit their schools at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes.
Each school district’s perspective on the walkout is different.
Caesar Rodney School District superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald released a statement that he’s not in favor of the walkout, and that his teachers aren’t allowed to participate.
“As a former social studies teacher, I am proud that students have paid attention in class and understand that they have a voice that needs to [be] heard,” Fitzgerald said on the district’s website.
“However,” the statement said, “I cannot support allowing students to disrupt the educational setting by leaving their classrooms to ‘walk out.’”
CR’s superintendent proposed an alternative to the protest.
“Instead, I believe that they should write or call their legislators to let their opinions be known and, most importantly, to vote when they come of age,” Fitzgerald said.
Capital School District superintendent Dan Shelton said he respects his students’ point of view. Shelton, however, said he doesn’t want to reveal what his students have planned.
“When students get involved and want to advocate their views, we support that,” Shelton said. “But we’re purposely not releasing details publicly because we want to ensure the safety of our kids.”
In another statement, Indian River School District superintendent Mark Steele said he doesn’t support the protest at Indian River High School. He also cited safety concerns for his students.
“A school walkout would not only be a major safety concern, but a disruptive event to the educational process for all students,” Steele said. “Therefore, we do not support this protest and our expectation is that students will remain in the building, as we are unable to provide the same level of safety outside in an open area. We will adhere to all district policies related to this issue.”
Administrators at Milford High School did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Smyrna School District superintendent Patrik Williams said he’s met with student leadership at Smyrna High School and “we do not have a lot of student interest.”
But Williams said Smyrna students will still have an option to protest.
“We have arranged a location inside our school for this purpose,” Williams said. “There will be staff, our [school resource officer], and administration, including me, on site to help guide students to and from the location.”
Williams said, “We are supporting our students in their decision, and our focus is strictly their safety. However, no adult staff will be participating, should students wish to convene.”
Cape Henlopen High School superintendent Bob Fulton said in a statement that students at Cape Henlopen High School have organized a walkout.
And though Cape students will participate, the event “is by no means a district endorsement,” Fulton said in his statement.
Fulton said he respects decisions by all students, whether they participate or not. He also said any staffers involved in the event will be doing so for safety purposes only.
Fulton suggested parents discuss the walkout in advance with their children.
“We respect your opinions and encourage you to talk with your child about your personal beliefs and expectations as a parent,” his statement said.
The National School Walkout will commemorate the 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, killed by a gunman Feb. 14.
The protest is also intended to send a message to elected officials from the growing number of people who think Congress should enact tougher gun laws.