Riverhead High School students will be participating in the National School Walkout on Wednesday.
The walkout is being organized across the country to protest gun violence in schools for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. in all time zones on March 14 — one month after 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were gunned down in their classrooms.
Riverhead Central School District officials have met with students interested in organizing the walkout here to devise a plan to allow students to honor the memory of the Parkland victims, Superintendent Dr. Aurelia Henriquez wrote in a letter posted on the district’s website and Facebook page.
Students who wish to participate in the National School Walkout will have a safe outdoor area designated to honor the Parkland, Florida victims through a moment of silence, Henriquez wrote.
“Over the last two weeks, members of our administration team met together and with Riverhead High School students to discuss plans and procedures for honoring the 17 lives lost in Parkland while allowing our students to demonstrate hope and kindness in a safe and constructive manner,” she wrote. “While we must remain neutral in our stance, as educators and parents, we are sensitive to the reason behind the March 14 event.”
District officials and high school students devised a plan that will allow students to exit the building at 10 a.m. to a secured outdoor area, according to the announcement.
High school teachers will remain in their classrooms and supervise students who choose not to participate in the activity, the district said.
Beginning at 10:17 a.m. Wednesday, Riverhead Middle School will hold an extended study hall period. The period will begin with a general, age-appropriate message read aloud to the students explaining the purpose behind the extended study hall period, the superintendent said.
RMS students will also pay tribute to the 17 lives lost through a variety of classroom-based activities. All activities will be centered on kindness, she wrote.
No elementary or middle school-aged students will be permitted to exit their school building. Students who choose to do so may face disciplinary consequences, the announcement said.
“While we will respect our students’ rights, whether they choose to participate or not in the March 14 memorial walkout, all students must remain on school property and adhere to the safety protocols in place,” Henriquez wrote. High school principal Dr. Charles Regan will let students know what the district expects from students during the walkout in an email outlining the district’s expectations, she wrote.