Hampton students to participate in walk out March 14
Students at Hampton High School are planning to walk out for 17 minutes March 14, as part of a national student walkout day.
They informed district administration of their intention to participate in the nationwide peaceful student walkout in support of their peers in Parkland, Fla., the site of the recent school shooting.
The event will be student-planned and student-led. District administration has advised high school students that students who participate in the nationwide event will not be disciplined, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Loughead.
“We are supporting our students in exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Loughead. “We are working very closely with the township police to ensure our students are safe and secure during this event.”
Hampton Township Chief of Police Tom Vulakovich also updated township council of the peaceful protest at its Feb. 28 meeting. He wanted to make them aware that the students were looking for a location.
“The police department will not interfere in anyway,” said Vulakovich, noting police would be in the area, as they are a regular presence at the schools anyway.
In order to better protect students during the event, the district could not provide any more details on where students plan to go once they exit the building, according to Loughead.
This walkout comes weeks after the shooting of 17 students and staff at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The National School Walkout on March 14 was initiated by Women's March Youth Empower, according to its online website.
This national event calls for students from school district in every time zone at 10 a.m. to walk out for 17 minutes “to protest Congress' inaction on gun violence.
The 17 minutes are for the 17 people who died from the violence that day. Women's March Youth Empower also calls teachers and administration to walk out with their students, if they so choose.
The district and police department work closely to provide security measures to staff and students by actively reviewing security practices and crisis response protocols and making adjustments as needed to improve upon current practices.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.