Vermont Parents: Here's What You Need To Know About Wednesday's #NationalSchoolWalkout
Students across the country and around Vermont are planning school walkouts and other protest actions Wednesday morning, March 14.
Due to weather concerns, events are being across the state are being rescheduled. Check with your school and student for the latest. This post will be updated.
Here's seven things parents should know about Wednesday's walkouts
1. The walkouts and other protests are in memory of the 17 people shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Many, but not all, students are also calling for action to stop gun violence.
2. The walkouts are scheduled for the one month anniversary of the Parkland school shooting. Most of the actions are planned to start at 10 a.m. local time.
3. The protests are student-led and actions vary from school to school. Most involve walking out of class or school for 17 minutes – one minute for each victim killed by the Parkland shooter.
5. The walkout is separate from the March For Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, although the message is similar.
6. Vermont Secretary of Education Rebecca Holcombe is advising schools to hold open dialogs with students and encouraging "talkouts as opposed to walkouts."
In a memo sent to educators Feb. 23, 2018 on "Student Voice and Civil Debate" Holcombe encouraged teachers and school administrations to "work with your students and support civil and peaceful opportunities for student expression and student voice, while holding all members of your community to your codes of behavior."
7. Some schools are sanctioning walkouts. In other schools, students will face consequences for skipping class.
According to the ACLU, students cannot be subjected to stiffer consequences for walking out of class in protest than for any other unexcused absence.
Which schools are participating?
Because Wednesday's planned protests are student-led, school administrators may not be aware of all that is planned at a given school. The best way to find out what is happening at your child's school is to talk with your student.
We also have an incomplete list of the school events below.
- Mount Abraham Union High School, Bristol - 10 a.m. walkout at the school, 11 am - 1 p.m at Bristol Park
- Thetford Academy, Thetford
- Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg
- Colchester High School
- Union 32 High School, Montpelier — teacher support, 10:00 - 10:17 minutes, whole school, optional student conversation w/principal in afternoon
- Dummerston Elementary School — 10:30 a.m. We will spend the 17 minutes giving our kids the opportunity to be a part of change via writing our state legislators and congressmen.
- Essex Middle & High School — 10 a.m. #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes (HS will have 18 minutes, details here.)
- Center For Technology, Essex — 10 a.m.
- Mount Mansfield Union High School, Jericho — 10 a.m.
- Williamstown Middle & High School — 10 a.m.
- Heartworks Preschool, Burlington — 10 a.m.
- Burlington High School — 10 a.m.
- South Burlington High School — 10 a.m.
- Vermont Commons School, South Burlington — 10 a.m.
- Burr Burton Academy, Manchester — 10 a.m.
- Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans — 10 a.m.
- Middlebury High School
- Browns River Middle School, Jericho
Lamoille Union will hold a 10 a.m. assembly on Wednesday and Otter Valley Union School will have a moment of silence. At Peoples Academy, in Morrisville, students and faculty will take a short walk down to Main Street to observe a moment of silence.
Know of a school-sanctioned event or have more details on a school listed above? Send us an email before Wednesday morning.
My child's middle/elementary/preschool is listed above. How do I talk to them about these issues?
While most of the protests and memorials have been planned by high school students, some schools with younger children also plan to participate.
VPR's podcast But Why has answered questions from children that might be of help as you approach this conversation with your child.
After the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, But Why spoke with child psychologist, Dr. Robin Gurwitch, about how to talk with kids about violence in the news. You can listen to that episode here.
After receiving a few questions about death and dying, But Why spoke to Jana DeCristofaro from the National Center for Grieving Children. You can listen to that episode here, (though you may want to preview the episode on your own before listening with small children.)