RICHMOND, Va — More than 20 schools in the Richmond metro area have signed up to take part in a nationwide school walk out to honor the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and to call for change.
Each local school district has announced their own plan, but for the most part, individual schools are setting up their own way to allow students to take part in the event, whether that means leaving the school building or honoring the victims in the classroom.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday morning, students taking part in the walk out will leave their school building for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas High School one month ago. Some local schools are hosting discussion sessions and moments of silence too.
Henrico and Chesterfield schools have set up “safe spaces” for students to express their views. Richmond schools said some schools will host walk outs while others have chosen to hold dialogue sessions with students and teachers inside classrooms. Hanover Schools said for safety reasons they cannot allow students to leave the school building during instructional time, and are encouraging students to work with their teachers and principals to honor the Parkland victims at other times.
On top of honoring the victims, many students leading the rallies are calling on adults to take action in areas like gun and school safety. Some have criticized the walk outs as events to that will be all talk and no action. However, local students said that critique is far from accurate.
"A lot of people have made lists of ways to contact our local representatives because we don't want to just say we are upset, we want to do something about it,” Emmaline Clark, who helped organize an event at Richmond Community High School.
"These young people are going to be voters in a couple of years. We need to listen to them, they have something to say,” said J. Austin Brown, principal at Richmond Community High School.