Gun violence student walkout planned at Mass. HS

PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – Students across the Capital Region are planning to walk out of their classrooms on March 14th.

It’s part of a national show of activism calling for an end to gun violence following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. During the event, students, educators, and supporters will walk out of school for 17 minutes. Each minute is in honor of the number of victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

It may be a few weeks before of the National walkout, but students at Pittsfield and Taconic High Schools feel compelled to show their solidarity with this movement.

Seniors Tyler Williamson, Bryanna McKearney and Abigail Mooney are the student organizers behind a Tuesday walkout at Taconic High School.

The student-organized protests are scheduled for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Pittsfield and Taconic High Schools.

“It’s so close to home. They are people our age,” Bryanna McKearney said.

In the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida they’re joining a movement against gun violence and taking a stand against congressional inaction in the wake of school shootings.

“There shouldn’t be that stigma where we can’t talk about these things. Because the more we shy away from these situations the more they’re going to continue,” Tyler Williamson said.

“If we all have these consistent protests then I think that they’ll need to cater to us. This is our future and we are stepping into the limelight. This is our time,” Abigail Mooney said.

Students at Pittsfield High will also stage their own walkout. Junior Evan Pavlick and Sophomore Lucien Lamoureaux they’ll be there.

“I’m tired of people like being, ‘oh, I’m so sorry for these people.’ Obviously, everyone feels bad for them, but we should make a stand and change something,” Lucien Lamoureax, a Pittsfield High School Sophomore, said.

“If people can look at us and say if these kids are doing this then maybe we can do something,” Evan Pavlick, a Pittsfield High School Junior, said.

Some districts across the country have warned of disciplinary action against students who participate, but in Pittsfield, the district superintendent said he is supporting the students self-expression.

“We just don’t see it as a situation to consequence students or to punish students and neither will there be consequences or punishment for students who choose that for whatever reason they’re not interested in marking this observation. That’s their business too,” Dr. Jake McCandless, Superintendent of Pittsfield Schools.

The students who are organizing the walkout tells NEWS10 ABC it will take place at 10 a.m. They will have six minutes of silence marking how long the shooting lasted and the lives taken.

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