Student Walkouts Planned in Wake of Mass Shooting

Will there be walkouts in Buffalo?

Mike Baggerman
February 20, 2018 - 3:00 am

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - There are no formal plans for a student walkout at Buffalo Public Schools in wake of last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The shooting resulted in the death of 17 people. In the days following the incident, students began protesting gun violence. Several dozen students in South Broward High School in Florida walked out of school in a demonstration against gun violence and for gun control. A rally was held the next day.

The first planned nationwide event is on March 14, which marks one month since the shooting. Another planned event is on April 20 on the 19-year anniversary of the Columbine Massacre. Activists are urging students, teachers, and other allies to participate in the protests.

RELATED: Large majorities of Americans say neither President Donald Trump nor Congress are doing enough to try to prevent mass shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Parkland, Florida, last week, with improved mental health screening and treatment leading the public’s preferences for action.

Most in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 58 percent, say stricter gun laws could have prevented the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. But which laws remains an open question: A ban on assault weapons still splits the country evenly, with no change from 2016.    See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

At Buffalo Public Schools there has been no formal announcement made by students or advocates.

"When the details become more available, if there is a group of students (and parents) that come to us and want to have a bus to go to Albany...we'll be looking to provide assistance for them," Buffalo Teacher's Federation President Phil Rumore said.

Rumore said he would support teachers who participate in the protest because it's their first amendment right to do so. However, he did note that students will need to consult with their parents in order to participate in a protest.

LISTEN: Buffalo Teacher's Federation President Phil Rumore

Schools Protesting - Phil Rumore RAW.mp3

Buffalo Public Schools has not taken a formal position on whether they will allow students or teachers participate. In an e-mail, a spokesperson said the administration did not discuss the matter on Monday because it was President's Day, a day off.

Victoria Ross, Executive Director of the WNY Peace Center, said they will "absolutely" engage students because of the gun violence statistics in America, though noted that formal plans in Buffalo and New York State are still in the early stages.

She did say there will be a candlelight vigil for the victims of last week's mass shooting on March 1 at 7 p.m. at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

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