LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Students across the country are expected to walk out of school Wednesday to show solidarity with students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
A total of 17 students and staff were shot and killed at the school last month. Wednesday’s walkout marks one month since the shooting.
But the walkout has caused some school districts to put a hold on those plans, punishing students if they decide to leave the building.
Little Rock School District Superintendent Michael Poore has different plans for his students.
"We need to understand that these young people, their voice and thoughts do matter,” Poore said.
Poore said students will not be punished for demonstrating during class at 10 a.m.
"I also believe this is a real teaching moment for our schools and our students to understand to understand what protest is about,” Poore said.
But Poore's take on the walkout is a very different approach from other districts in Arkansas.
Bentonville School District tweeted Monday saying students who choose to walkout will be counted as absent and "assigned a detention."
Cabot Public Schools also sent a note to students and parents saying students will be held accountable for missing class time.
"I always found it a value that when you trust students, usually that comes back in a very positive way of things that end up being created that's a really good culture,” Poore said.
While students are demonstrating, Little Rock police and school staff will be standing close by.
"We feel that we have a plan in place to ensure the safety and faculty of all the different faculty and students at our campuses,” Assistant Chief Hayward Finks said.
Poore also said he is encouraging parents to talk to their children about the protests.
“Parents can certainly help us by talking to their child by making sure they stay within the school environment because that’s where this is going to be the safest for us in terms of allowing this to occur,” he said.
Poore said each high school has something unique planned for Wednesday.
Demonstrations will end at 10:30 a.m. and Poore explained that if students are absent from class after that, there will be consequences.
Poore also said if students stray from the planned demonstrations and go off school grounds, there will be consequences for that as well.