Paso Robles High School to participate in National Walk Out Day without walking out

Campus will host event during school hours

Paso Robles High School to recognize National Walk Out Day without walking out

PASO ROBLES, Calif. - These are just a few of the posters students at Paso Robles High School have made as a part of their National Walk Out Day event.

Students here wont be walking out however.

"We have the day planned out to where we adjusted the schedule so we're not missing class, we're still honoring the victims and having the event. We're gonna have different booths in this area," explained Sophomore, Gabriella Clayton.

"We have booths that encourage political action like voter registration, we have phone numbers of our representatives, we have places of remembrance for those whose lives were lost in Florida and we have places for anti-bullying to really create a positive safe place on campus," said Senior, Mason Seden-Hanson.

Students Gabriella Clayton and Mason Seden-Hansen say this event was put together between their various student led organizations and the administration in order for them to still be able to something while following guidelines for walk outs set by the California Department of Education.

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District sent out the following letter to parents:

Students have organized a symbolic "walk-out" event in the PRHS quad on Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018 to join the nationwide teen movement that commemorates the loss of life and rally for school safety in honor of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Many PRHS students are planning to have their voices heard on issues such as gun control and school safety. Student leaders are planning to rally for 17 minutes from 10:00 to 10:17.  The district administration has arranged for an extended recess to accommodate the rally, and the students are planning to hold the rally in the school's main quad.

"The district has made an effort to cooperate with students. They've offered support and acknowledged our desire to exercise our rights by making efforts to meet with passionate members of the student body," said senior Kat Dickinsonwho has helped lead efforts among students to organize a rally. Dickinson also said she believes administrators are promoting civil discussion during this event.  

Students from PRHS ASB leadership, Progressive Club, Equality Club, The Superintendent Advisory board, and other groups have worked to organize the rally. Administration from PRHS and Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) have met with students during several lunch periods over the past weeks to ensure their voices are heard and that school safety is not threatened.

"We are excited to witness the collaborative work of student and staff leaders in providing such a format that speaks to safety and the value of positive relationships within the school community," PRJUSD Superintendent Chris Williams said.

PRHS staff has allocated the 17 minutes as a slightly extended "nutrition" recess period, so that students will be able to rally and organize without missing class time.  The 17 minute length represents the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, which has inspired walkouts across high school campuses in the US for school safety and gun control measures that have been repeatedly stalled in congress. The PRHS rally at nutrition has been largely student driven, and student leaders plan for the rally to remain on the school property.

"We believe in our students; their ideas, their passion for equity, belonging and a safe environment," PRJUSD Deputy Superintendent Jen Gaviola said.

PRHS staff and administration will also be leading student body assemblies that day as a way to encourage kindness, anti-bullying, student body unity, and school safety.

All parties are concerned with student safety, and indeed, that is the purpose of this event.

While Parkland, Florida may be on the other side of the country, this shooting still hits close to home for them.

"That fear [of a school shooting] has been with us for a long time; it's been elevated but it's always there. What seems to me the biggest change is the desire for action," Seden-Hansen said.

They hope their event will spread positivity and awareness of what resources are available.

"We're all high school students and we're all peers and it's important to be united as one and not take out our anger or lash it out on others because that sets a tone for the whole world and we want to make a difference with this group," Clayton said.

Paso Robles Middle Schools will be having Kindness Week this week as well in lieu of walking out as well.

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