District prepares for student-planned protest

Local News
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Students all over the country have been taking a walk to take a stand. Next week, hundreds of teens here could join them.

Students at Central and Centennial high schools are planning a protest for next week. They’re going to walk out of class for 17 minutes, in solidarity with the victims of Parkland, Florida’s school shooting.

Many want to push for tougher gun laws. District leaders say they’re trying to keep this under control.

Monday night, they sent emails to parents stating they’re aware of three different events in which students might walk out of school.

Administrators say they support the students’ First Amendment rights to peaceful assembly and free expression, they just prefer students did the walkout after school hours. But, since that probably won’t happen, they’re preparing.

Over the last few weeks, similar walkouts have bee happening around the country. They’re usually during school hours because that’s when the school shootings happened.

The district’s PTA council says it’s organizing as much information as it can about the planned walkouts. PTA council president Sheri Williamson says, if the protests happen, they will need to stay organized.

Administrators say, if and when a walkout happens, they won’t tolerate disorderly conduct. They’re planning on having increased staff or police presence to enforce it.

Teachers will not be allowed to participate in any walkouts. District officials say Illinois law prohibits school employees from engaging in political activities while at work.

Next Wednesday, students from Central and Centennial are expected to leave at 10 am. It could happen again March 24. It would coincide with a rally in Washington D.C.

A national school walkout event is also planned for April 20.

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