WALLINGFORD — Area school districts are taking different approaches to Wednesday’s national school walkout to honor victims of the Florida school shooting and advocate for gun control.
Some districts, including Meriden, Southington and Cheshire, are allowing students to participate in the walkout at 10 a.m. Wednesday, while other districts, including Wallingford, are holding indoor activities.
Southington’s School Superintendent Tim Connellan said in a letter to parents that the district’s goal in endorsing the walkout is “to allow students to exercise their voice” and “engage in an activity in a safe environment in which no students will find themselves ‘getting in trouble’ for their participation.”
Brian Goralski, chairman of the Southington Board of Education, said while “we think it’s important to give them a platform” allowing students to participate is “not an endorsement of any specific view.”
Cheshire will follow a modified schedule on Wednesday to “facilitate a number of voluntary activities,” including walking out and “staying in … to write or develop a message of support to students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS,” Cheshire High School Principal Mary Gadd said in a letter to families.
Meriden Superintendent Mark Benigni said the district is supporting a walkout at both high schools.
“We support giving our students voice and letting them appropriately demonstrate their support, empathy and compassion to others,” Benigni said.
Wallingford school officials sent a letter to families last week announcing the school district did not endorse the walkout due to safety concerns. Students who participate in the walkout will be disciplined, according to the letter. Administrators met with a group of 50 students to come up with alternative activities, including 17 minutes of silence to honor the Parkland victims.
The national walkout emerged as a social media movement in the wake of last month's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 students and staff dead.
Plainville High School administrators sent a letter to parents saying the school would allow students to participate in a 17-minute “walk-in” at a “location within the building.” The letter did not mention any disciplinary action for students that walk out.