Schools preparing for "Enough" national walkout

By  | 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - About a month after the South Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, the nationwide debate on guns is still going on.
Wednesday, many students in North Central Florida are taking part in the "Enough National School Walkout."

"I think it's awful it had to take a tragedy for people to rally together to try and make a stand but I think people finally realize enough is enough," said Senior at Gainesville High School Deirdre Vermerris. "I don't care if I get in trouble because I want to fight for what I believe."

The events are scheduled to start at 10 am Wednesday and will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.

"We realize that this is an issue on which students have strong feelings probably on both sides," said Alachua County Schools Spokesperson Jackie Johnson.

The Alachua County School Board sent principals a list of safety measures for students wanting to participate.

"If there are students that want to participate in the walkout, they've got a safe place to do it," Johnson said.

Schools will have a designated safe zone with faculty supervision. "All we ask is that students go there in a safe and orderly manner, that they're not disruptive on the way there and not disruptive while they're there and that they go to class in a timely fashion afterwards, and then they won't face any sort of disciplinary action," Johnson said.

No one will be allowed to leave campus without a parent to check them out.

At P.K. Yonge Research School, students will lead speeches honoring the victims.

"In a way it's gratifying because it's like oh maybe my voice will finally be heard," said Vermerris.

Administrators said they don't know how many students plan to participate.

"I think even if 10 people show up, it's at least something," said Vermerris.

TV20 reached out to surrounding school districts to see if they had plans for tomorrow, but did not hear back from all of them.

Putnam County has similar protocols as Alachua, allowing for designated zones. Some area schools will be allowing students (who wish to participate) to congregate in a specified area, while other schools will be conducting non academic activities in the classroom focused around ‘love’, ‘acceptance’, and ‘kindness.'

“We realize this is part of the healing process for students and want to embrace that, while ensuring there is minimal disruption to the school day and that our students are safe while participating in the walkout," said Felicia Cahan with Putnam County Schools.

Some districts, like Marion, are on Spring Break.