PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. (KTHV) – A nationwide school walkout planned for Wednesday marks one month since 17 students and faculty were killed inside their school in Parkland, Florida.
Students will walk out of their schools for 17 minutes to show support for the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but some school officials are not too keen on the idea.
"We can show solidarity, but we can do it in a safe, wholesome manner,” Principal Mary Bailey said.
Bailey is the principal at Robinson High School. The school is planning an alternative to the walkout.
Bailey said the biggest concern about the student walkout is safety. She thinks putting the entire student body outside makes them vulnerable.
“With all the things happening today, we don’t think students should walk out into open air like that,” Senior Francis Linker said.
Students Sarah Douglass and Francis Linker are instead encouraging students to wear the same color – gray.
"We are going to have all the students wear gray because it's one of [Stoneman Douglas’] school colors,” Linker said.
Sarah Douglass said they have also planned to collect money for the victims at lunch.
“We’ll also be collecting change that we will send to the families that will help pay for funeral expenses and hospital expenses,” she said.
Bailey said she is encouraging every student to participate Wednesday.
"We want to be active in supporting them. The money that we collect we will send to the school for them to use for the manner in which they feel is best,” Bailey said.
Robinson High School will also be holding a 17-second moment of silence for the victims. Students can also sign a banner in the cafeteria to show their solidarity.
“[Stoneman Douglas] asked we don’t send anything because I think they would be bombarded, but we’re going to hang it up in our school so we don’t forget about school safety and remembering them,” Douglass said.
Bailey said if a student does choose to still walkout, they will be counted as absent from that class. Security will also be at every entrance to make sure students cannot leave.
In Bentonville, the school district tweeted that any student that participates in the walkout will be "counted absent and assigned a detention, in accordance with the student handbook."
We called around to other schools in central Arkansas to find out what their protocol on the walkout will be. Here is how some are responding that got back with us:
- North Little Rock School District is following their school policy. Students will be counted as absent from class. The student body has instead planned a vigil at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
- Conway School District is not allowing it. They are working with student organizers for a different option.
- Little Rock School District will be holding a press conference on Tuesday to provide information for their protocol on Wednesday
- Bryant School District said the high school is working with the Young Democrats Club to put together a walkout.
- Cabot Public School District said students will be held accountable and will counted as absent from class.