Thousands of Valley students plan walkout Wednesday to protest g - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Thousands of Valley students plan walkout Wednesday to protest gun violence

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Hundreds of Valley students plan to walk out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence. (FOX5) Hundreds of Valley students plan to walk out of class Wednesday to protest gun violence. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

On Wednesday March 14, thousands of students across Clark County plan to participate in a school walk out, one month after the Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida. Schools across the valley said they will also host a number of on-campus school sanctioned events. Examples include voter registration events, student speeches on gun violence and moments of silence to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.

Clark County School District Chief Academic Officer Mike Barton said students will not be punished for walking out, but by law, the district is required to mark them absent if they miss more than 30 minutes of class. Students could also be marked tardy for attending non-sanctioned events.

"For exercising student voice, showing passion regarding this issue, there will not be student discipline," Barton said.

Many students said they plan to participate in the walk out despite a warning from the school district that they may receive a tardy for participating.

“It’s time for change,” Salvatore Ficarrotta a student at Basic High School said. “We need to change together.”

For some students at Basic High School, Wednesday, will be just another school day, but for others it’s a platform. 

“(It's an opportunity) to rally against gun violence in schools,” Katelyn Donaker, a student at Basic High said.

High school seniors Kobe Hopkins and Donaker have been leading the effort for a walk out at their school, inspired by the students in Parkland who survived the Feb. 14 mass shooting.

All week, students have been making signs and plans, but they’re not only calling on congress for action.

“(We want to see) something in tribute for the victims in the Florida shooting ... (and) voter registration for people who are about to be 18 by November, because it’s going to be a crucial election year this year," Hopkins said.

More than 100 students have committed to walking out for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 killed at Stoneman Douglas High School. Some students said they want to walk out because it hits close to home. In May 2017, a graffitied threat was made to the school, but never carried out. 

“That really freaked everybody out,” one student said. “It keeps happening all over the USA; it’s really bad.”

“It’s scary that we had to wake up and make the decision, 'Are we going to miss our tests, our academics?” Donaker said. “Or are we going to risk being shot?' And afterward, I didn’t really see any action made at our school. Nobody told us what to do in case of a shooting.”

Hopkins said the walkout may be inconvenient for students and teachers, but it’ll sent a message. 

“I hope to see this call to action inspire our elected officials,” Ficarrotta said.

“This problem is an everyday ... thing. It’s happening and we need to shed light on it," Hopkins said.

Other schools hosting events Wednesday include Liberty High School, The Meadow's School, Valley High School, Del Sol, Coronado High School, Clark High School, Green Valley High School, Legacy High School, Sierra Vista High School and Desert Oasis High School.

"There are probably hundreds of others that are occurring at not just the high schools but even at our elementary schools there are activities that are occurring there as well," Barton said.

Captain Ken Young from Clark County school police issued a statement Tuesday about the protests saying:

“We are aware of the proposed walk outs tomorrow. All law enforcement across the county is aware and there are contingencies in place. We are advocating that parents are responsible and give sound advice to kids about this. We are hoping that students remain in school tomorrow.” 

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