RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond school leaders say they are working to keep students on school grounds as student activists join the National School Walkout demonstration on March 14.
The demonstration comes in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead.
“Richmond Public Schools continues to grieve with the Parkland community and stand with them as they work to heal and move forward,” Richmond Public Schools spokesperson Kenita Bowers said in a statement.
During the March 14 demonstration, students from high schools across the country plan on walking out of school at 10 a.m. to show their support to end gun violence. They will then stand in the front of their school for 17 minutes, in honor of the Parkland school shooting victims.
Richmond school leaders say they “applaud the student activists” who have stepped up to lead the movement, but the demonstration would pose a safety issue.
“While we wholeheartedly respect every individual’s right to peaceful assembly and free expression, our top priority is to provide a safe teaching and learning environment for all so having large numbers of students walking off campus would pose a significant safety risk for students,” said Bowers.
Richmond principals are working to identify ways for their students to honor the victims and share their views about gun control and school safety in a peaceful manner while remaining on school grounds.
School leaders say students and families and community members can have their voices heard during the “RPS Non-Violence March on the Capital” on Saturday, March 24 at 10 a.m. The event will run in correlation with the national march on that same day in Washington, DC.
“Many local and state officials are expected to be in attendance to hear directly from our young people regarding school safety and gun control laws,” said Bowers.
More details on the event will be announced soon.