UNR, WCSD release statements on planned school walkout

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- Update: University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson has released a statement about upcoming student walkouts:

Student walkout protest graphic by MGN.

"On Wednesday, March 14, a national school walkout is scheduled to be held as a protest to congressional inaction regarding gun violence. We wish to stress that as an institution, there will be no negative fallout for students who participate in peaceful and lawful events such as this one, nor will it adversely affect high school admissions to our University. Classes will run on a regular schedule March 14.

"The University of Nevada, Reno has long stressed a model of civic and community engagement for our students. We firmly believe that students who work to make a difference in the civic life of our communities develop knowledge, skills and values that will serve them well throughout their lives, and will help them become more engaged and productive citizens.

"We support our current and future students’ active participation in our democracy. We acknowledge their right to stand up in the expression of their beliefs."

Update: The Washoe County School District has released a statement on student walkouts planned for next month in response to the deadly shooting at a high school in Florida.

The statement is below:

"As a District, we have always placed a high value on student voice. It is important that our students understand the importance of community engagement and how they can advocate at the legislative level. We understand there are potential “walkout” events scheduled nationwide for March 14 and April 20, 2018. While the Washoe County School District understands and respects the emotional component and intent of these events, our first priority is educating our students. In order for us to carry out this mission, our students must attend school.

"We have provided guidance to all of our school sites suggesting that site leaders consider a schoolwide event on the days in question to provide meaningful engagement for all students. Student Leadership clubs and classes could develop ideas such as tying ribbons on the school fences or observing moments of silence. It is important that students play an active role in providing input on such activities as well as campus safety issues. These activities should challenge students to learn about civic engagement at a deeper level.

"If students decide to participate in a walkout, however, they will be marked tardy or absent (depending on the length of time they are out of class). These will not be excused.

"Students who decide to participate in a walkout must acknowledge the limited amount of supervision that may be available, as the District does not have the resources to monitor the safety of students off campus.

"School Police will endeavor to be present at as many sites as possible primarily to observe, assuming students are not disturbing the educational setting or engaging in disruptive behaviors that are unsafe or risk the security of the school.

"We ask students who decide to participate in a walkout to peacefully assemble, conduct the activity without disturbing the teaching, learning, and educational setting at their school, and then return to class."

Original Story: Momentum is building for a nationwide effort to get students and teachers to walk out of school next month to protest gun violence. The movement is being encouraged by those who organized the Women's March. The Enough! National School Walkout is scheduled to take place March 14, 2018 -- which would be exactly one month after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Organizers say it will take place at 10:00 a.m. and last 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims who lost their lives in the shooting.

Local students, online sources and social media say there is a walkout planned at Reno High School. The Washoe County School District tells KOLO 8 News Now it is monitoring the situation at the district level.

Activists are hoping the show of solidarity will put pressure on Congress to pass gun reform and make schools safer.

The March 14 Enough! National School Walkout is not the only one building momentum. Students who survived the Florida shooting are also planning to protest in Washington, D.C. March 24 at an event organized by March For Our Lives. There is another national walkout that will be happening on April 20, 2018.