KSUPD gets ready for National School Walkout

David Williams

Students across the country are staging a national school walkout Wednesday in solidarity with victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

A walkout has also been planned for Kent State and will last from 10:00 a.m. until 10:17 a.m., 17 minutes for the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The goals of the protest, organized by EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, are to memorialize the victims of the shooting in Parkland and bring national attention to the issue of gun control. News of the walkout emerged following the shooting and quickly gained support through social media.

Many middle schools and high schools are working with students to better organize the walkout, but some are not allowing students to participate in the walkout, with some threatening disciplinary action.

The Needville Independent School District in Texas said any student who takes part in the walkout protest will be suspended for three days.

Some colleges, however, are voicing their support for the movement. The University of Connecticut tweeted in February that any disciplinary action associated with the protests would not affect their admission status.

“We’re not foreseeing any issues with this,” said Tricia Knoles, the community resource officer with KSUPD.

Protests of many kinds are common at Kent State and are often organized by student organizations. Organizers typically contact KSUPD or the Center for Student Involvement ahead of time to make the university aware of the protest and get tips on how to organize an effective but safe protest.

KSUPD has not yet been contacted by the organizers of the walkout, Knoles said, but are still preparing as they would for any protest. Officers will patrol regular protest areas such as Risman Plaza and the area in front of the M.A.C. Center to keep the peace and ensure a safe protest.

“Our students, when they protest, are usually great,” Knoles said. “They know how to protest correctly.”

David Williams is the safety reporter. Contact him at [email protected].