Walkouts planned at Clark County schools Wednesday
Area school districts are preparing for planned student walkouts that will touch campuses across the nation on Wednesday.One month after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., students at some high schools in Vancouver and surrounding cities plan to leave class at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes — one minute for each of the victims in last month’s shooting. Some schools are also offering alternatives to students who want to demonstrate but may not wish to leave school, such as letter-writing campaigns or voter registration drives.“When students advocate appropriately for change, it can be a powerful learning experience,” Vancouver Public Schools principals wrote in letters to parents this week. “We also recognize that some students may not want to participate in a walkout or related activities and may prefer to stay in class. We are committed to ensuring that all students feel safe and respected.”Evergreen Public Schools Superintendent John Steach told district staff in a campus email this week that the district supports “our students in efforts to stand up for what they believe in.” Still, he added, the district hopes students choose to stay on school property during that time.“If a student-led walkout does occur in our schools, the top concern is that we maintain a safe and secure learning environment for all and we are putting plans in place to ensure this,” Steach wrote.That walkout appears likely as two Evergreen High School students are busy organizing a walkout at the east Vancouver campus next week.Winston Handwerker, a 17-year-old junior, and Jesalynn Prom, a 15-year-old sophomore, are planning a demonstration in the campus parking lot. The pair say their aim is to show elected officials the importance of changing gun laws with student safety in mind.