CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Some students and staff members in West Virginia high schools are scheduled to take part in a national call for demonstrations Wednesday morning.
About 550 participants are planning to rally in front of Washington High School in Jefferson County with students also planning to rally at Barbour County’s Philip Barbour High School and Fayette County’s Meadow Bridge High School beginning at 10 a.m.
The national call for protest comes just one month after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida where 17 people were killed. It’s an event that Washington High School senior Ciera Hansborough told WEPM Radio News hits close to home for them.
“I think that the drills, and everything we do, makes it seem very real to us as students.”
Hansborough said, adding they learned about the walk out through social media.
The rally will last for roughly 17 minutes, symbolic of the 17 lives lost in the shooting last month.
Washington High Senior Riley Ward said school safety is not a divisive political issue for students.
“We’re really just trying to focus on making sure they understand that if they see something they need to come forward about it.”
Students and staff who decide not to be part of the rally will be in sessions to review the procedures for code drills.
All students and staff members are asked to wear orange on Wednesday to demonstrate solidarity in promoting school safety.
The walkouts are also designed to be part of a national push for stricter gun control laws like bans on assault weapons, requirements for universal background checks prior to gun sales and allowances for courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior,
EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, is one of the main organizers for the walkouts which are open to students, teachers and staff.