Walkouts over gun violence planned at Glendale schools next month

Walkouts over gun violence planned at Glendale schools next month
The Glendale Unified School District Administration building in June 2017. District officials said they will not discipline any students who participate in a nationwide school walkout on March 14 as long as they stay on campus. (Tim Berger / Glendale News-Press)

Crescenta Valley High School students plan to protest gun violence and encourage politicians to enact gun control legislation by holding a walkout on March 14.

The students' actions are part of a nationwide movement that emerged after a gunman shot and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14. Students across the country plan to walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. on March 14 for 17 minutes, in honor of each person who died in the incident.


The walkout at Crescenta Valley High is still in the early planning stages as the student government wants to plan it in a way that doesn't completely disrupt classes, according to 17-year-old Zach Johnson.

The senior class vice president said it's something students felt compelled to do.

"There really is a massive movement of young people standing up for what they believe in … Even if the tragedy isn't close to us, it's still our duty to try and stand up as well," he said.

Anna Shim, senior class president at the school, said the walkout has received support from both students and teachers. The 18-year-old said some teachers may even participate in the walkout.

"It's really important to us to have that support," she said.

Shim said the walkout will be supervised by school officials and will remain on campus. After the 17 minutes, students will then head back to class.

Glendale Unified Supt. Winfred Roberson Jr. released a statement on Feb. 21 saying officials "respect our students' rights to engage in civic discourse." If schools do participate in a walkout, Roberson said he wants to ensure that "all views will be respected and activities will be safe both for participants and nonparticipants."

Kristine Nam, a district spokeswoman, said students will not be disciplined for participating in the walkout as long as they stay on campus. If students use the walkout as an opportunity to ditch class, they will be marked as having an unexcused absence.

At least two other schools in Glendale Unified plan to hold walkouts. Event pages for Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison elementary schools show up on the Women's March website, which is organizing the national movement.

However, Nam said the district anticipates most schools will have some kind of activity relating to the event.

A page for nearby Burbank High School also shows up on the website.

Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill said in a statement on Feb. 22 that campuses will hold age-appropriate activities related to the walkout. Elementary schools will have curriculum "promoting peace, tolerance and mindfulness" while secondary schools will hold individual events "based on our students' needs."

Similar to Glendale, Burbank students will not be disciplined for their participation in the walkout as long as they stay on campus.

Twitter: @Andy_Truc