SPOKANE, Wash. -- This Wednesday marks one month since a gunman opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Students across the country are planning to walk out of class that day to protest gun violence in schools.
In February, we saw students walk out of class to honor the victims in that shooting and push for stronger gun laws. Cheney High School students walked out of class for more than an hour. Moses Lake High School students also walked out.
In the weeks leading up to National School Walkout day, the Coeur d'Alene School District and students at Lake City and Coeur d'Alene high schools have met to discuss the best way for students to safely participate.
Students who want to participate Wednesday will walkout at 10:00 a.m. As a safety precaution, the location of where they will gather will not be announced until shortly before. There will also be a voter registration booth set up for students old enough to register.
"Coming and speaking about it is great, and being a part of the conversation is great. But if you don't do anything to participate in your government, you don't really get much done," Coeur d’Alene High School senior Ashley Romanowski said.
Students are also being encouraged to wear orange t-shirts, which is the color selected to show solidarity. A sign with the names of the students killed in the Parkland shooting will also be carried during the walkout.
"They've been super supportive of what we're doing and is become less of a walkout and more of a student-led assembly," Romanowski said.
Those who participate on Wednesday will not face consequences and are expected to return to class at 10:25 a.m. Students who leave campus or are not in the designated gathering area will be disciplined.
There is also a counter protest to the student walkouts happening at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds. In the description of this Facebook event, it says Descendants for the Founders will gather peacefully to demonstrate that semi-automatic firearms cannot injure without human interaction. Counter protest organizer Brian Welch is also encouraging participants to bring firearms with them to the rally.
Most of the schools in Eastern Washington do not have anything planned but a few are going to participate in the protest.
Cheney High School students will have a chance to gather together and have a moment of silence during school hours much like the walk out they did following the shooting. The school superintendent said at 10:00 a.m., students will be allowed to meet at the stadium. They will have a 17-minute moment of silence, one minute for each person killed in the shooting then they will return to class. Cheney school leaders say they have been working with students to make sure they are safe but also get a chance to demonstrate. It is totally optional.
East Valley High School students will be doing the same thing. The superintendent said it is a disruption to school, but if students go right back to class after the moment of silence, there will be no punishments.
Mead, Central Valley and Spokane schools do not have anything planned. They will have normal school days on Wednesday. All three districts will follow their regular school attendance policies.For example Spokane Schools allows students to leave campus during the school day only with a parent's permission.
Gonzaga Prep has a plan in place for walkouts as well. At 9:00 a.m., during their community period, students will be invited to the gym to learn about the purpose of the walkout. Their debate team has prepared a presentation about gun violence. School leaders said they will show a video made by the students of Freeman High School.
Then at 10:00 a.m., student organizers will lead the walkout to Bullpup stadium where they will observe 17 minutes of silence before returning to class.
The Freeman School District which has been perhaps the most impacted locally by gun violence will not have a walk out. The high school principal said they have met with students and they would like to participate in the nation wide demonstration in April.