Thousands of students in Los Angeles on Wednesday will walk out of class as part of a national protest to honor the 17 people killed in last month’s mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The National School Walkout is being organized by the Women’s March, the organization behind protests against President Donald Trump’s policies in January. The walkouts, which are set to start at 10 a.m. and continue for 17 minutes, are part of efforts to push Congress to pass legislation preventing school shootings.
“Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day,” the Women’s March said in a statement.
School walkouts are nothing new in Los Angeles, having been used during the East LA walkouts for education reform, and more recently to protest against proposed laws like H.R. 4437 and S.B. 1070 in Arizona.
The Los Angeles Unified School District said that students who leave campus will be directed to return, but that schools are encouraged to plan alternative activities on-campus.
“Students have the right to freedom of speech, and they may participate in peaceful dialogue and activities on campus, within parameters set by their administrators,” Interim Superintendent Vivian Ekchian said in a statement. She also asked parents to encourage students to stay on campus, and to monitor their children’s social media accounts for any signs of dangerous activity.
The Los Angeles Police Department issued a similar message, encouraging students “to express themselves” but noting,“It is imperative students do it in a manner that is respectful to fellow classmates and Los Angeles residents, as well as remain on their respective campuses during the demonstration.”
Even so, the Women’s March website for the protest lists dozens of schools in the Los Angeles area with planned walkouts. An interactive map of these can be found at the protest’s website.