NORTH CRAWFORD - On Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m., students across the nation are planning to walk out of school for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims of the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. There seems to be a variety of ways that school districts are responding to the planned walkouts.
North Crawford High School Principal Toby Tripalin was recently approached by some high school students asking what would happen if they planned on participating in the walkout. After meeting with the administrative team, district administrators decided to use this time as a learning opportunity for North Crawford students. By law and by school board policy, North Crawford administrators would have the right to punish students as they would for any other unexcused absence.
Rather than taking the punitive approach, the North Crawford staff is planning on using that time as a learning opportunity for all.
“North Crawford High School students have reached out to the administration, and we are working with them to allow for their voices to be heard in a safe and supportive environment,” explained Tripalin. “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should encourage our students to be actively engaged citizens who are educated on issues that directly and indirectly affect their world.”
Tripalin and other North Crawford staff members have planned a day of discussion and reflection. The morning will begin with an all-school assembly with the middle and high school students, with conversations on mental health, respect and acceptance. Following the assembly, students will meet in small groups where they will be guided by staff members on guided discussions around those themes.
Any student and staff member who chooses can walk out at 10 a.m. for the 17 minutes in honor of the shooting victims. Students and staff who choose to not participate in the walkout will have a safe and structured place to be during that time. Concluding the morning, students will be divided up into smaller groups, where they will participate in different team building activities centering on empathy, teamwork, and universal acceptance.
“I’m very proud of our students for wanting to advocate for fellow students around the nation,” stated North Crawford District Administrator Brandon Munson. “I believe the walkout and activities that have been planned for our students is a safe and constructive way for our students to express their views and show their support. This is a reflection on how effectively our staff and students work together for a larger cause.”