Walkouts Planned in Wake of Florida Shooting

As students across the country stage walkouts on Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting in Parkland, Fla., the Springs School is planning its own organized event and other schools are considering how to handle students’ participation.  

According to Eric Casale, the Springs School principal, the Springs walkout is intended to memorialize the lives lost in the Florida shooting, as well as to assure students that safety in schools is a priority.

In a letter posted on the school’s website, Mr. Casale outlined the district-sanctioned event and also asked that students wear white on the day, as will the wave of protesting students across the country who are demanding stricter gun control laws.

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, fifth through eighth graders in Springs will leave their classrooms as a group for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 students and school staff killed in last month’s shooting. 

Mr. Casale said that students will congregate in the school’s courtyard to plant flowers, make statements, read poetry, and reflect with a moment of silence. The walkout is “intended to be an organized, respectful event focused on kindness,” wrote the principal. It is only open to students and faculty. Students will not be required to participate. 

In addition, students at the Hayground and Bridgehampton Schools are planning a joint walkout, according to an email sent by Erica Huberty, a parent of a Hayground student. Although details are not yet finalized, it is hoped that students from both schools will “stand in solidarity for 17 minutes on [the Bridgehampton] school grounds,” the email read.

Ms. Huberty reported that she had spoken to Michael Miller, the Bridgehampton School’s principal, who said that although the school is not allowed to condone a walkout, students who do so on Wednesday will not be prevented or punished.

At the East Hampton School Board meeting Tuesday night, the high school principal, Adam Fine, informed the board that the walkout has been a topic of careful discussion. 

“The guidance has been that if it represents a disruption, students should be disciplined,” Mr. Fine said, indicating that he does not necessarily share that view. 

“I’m looking into whether I am able to flex my bell schedule to create free time during the day for those who want to participate. Coordination with students is key.” Mr. Fine added that he has been reminding students to use the opportunity to talk about “what is near and dear to them.”

With Reporting 
by Hilary Thayer Hamann