UPDATE: Eau Claire students participate in National Walkout Day

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- One by one, they walked Wednesday and took a stand.

"We're standing here today putting aside our political party affiliation and our differences to gather as a united group of people concerned for human rights," Abby Green, a junior at Eau Claire North, said through a bullhorn.

This show of solidarity came four weeks to the day from the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. in which 17 people were killed.

"In remembrance of those lives, we will stand silent and peaceful for the next 17 minutes," Green said.

There, each student stood in a state of mourning, reflection, and advocating.

The display was part of a nationwide school walkout Wednesday, which also included Eau Claire Memorial High School

“I definitely think there's power in the voice of the students and just to see the community members that are showing up to support us,” Violet Kilmurray, the event organizer at Memorial, said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday. “It shows that the adults are listening to the youth also and that's really important. We've been getting a lot of support.”

The protest was not officially sanctioned by the Eau Claire Area School District, but Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck saluted how those who walked handled themselves.

"Students have the right to express their voices and we want them to do that. We value student voice, as long as they do not disrupt the school day and certainly our students today did not do that,” she said to WEAU 13 News on Wednesday. “They were respectful. They were solemn. They certainly recognized the seriousness of the event and I couldn't be more impressed with them.

"They would like to see safe schools. Some of them, because of the incidents that have occurred, are afraid to come to school and they're making a statement about the importance of school safety."

Green, who helped organize the rally at Eau Claire North, said while the walkout was meant to salute all students, she understands why not every student walked out Wednesday.

"We respect your view, whatever it is. It's not here to attack people who aren't sitting in school. You choose what you do and we support you either way," she said.


Students at several local high schools participated in the national walkout against gun violence Wednesday morning.

At both Memorial and North high schools in Eau Claire Wednesday morning, students walked out of school for 17 minutes for the 17 people killed in the Florida shooting. Local community members also gathered in support of the students.

Organized by students, hundreds participated in hopes to make a statement. Students say they want violence in schools to end.

“I definitely think there's power in the voice of the students and just to see the community members that are showing up to support us, it shows that the adults are listening to the youth also and that's really important. We've been getting a lot of support,” said Violet Kilmurray, event organizer.

After their walk at Memorial High School, students held a moment of silence for 17 seconds. At North, students were silent for most of the protest.

Students say they hope their actions have positive impacts on the community and they say they are hoping to see change soon.
Last week, the Eau Claire Area School District sent a letter to families saying, “Students have the right to participate in activities if their activities do not disrupt the instructional day or create an unsafe environment. However, ECASD cannot endorse a student walkout. We are also bound by state law regarding student attendance at school and our responsibility to provide an instructional day.”



EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) --Students at Eau Claire’s two public high schools are planning to participate in the nationwide walk out against gun violence.

Memorial and North students both told WEAU 13 News that they are planning on leaving their classrooms at 10 a.m. According to a press release from students at North High School, the protest is non-partisan, and it is a silent and peaceful protest.

The walkout is organized to last for a total of 17 minutes, for the 17 people killed in Florida.

Nationwide, organizers say nearly 3,000 walkouts are set in the biggest demonstration yet of the student activism that has emerged following the massacre of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.



 
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