Inside and outside, IRSD students actively participate in nationwide ‘walkout’ event

Some Indian River School District students actively participated Wednesday in the national school walkout.

Some stood in hallway silence. Others congregated briefly in the lobby, gymnasium or auditorium. And several dozen students left school buildings – against the wishes of the school district.

The nationwide walkout –  staged one month after the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead – was designed as a memorial and protest to press lawmakers to enact stricter gun control laws.

At Millsboro Middle School, 33 students left the building while 16 students stood in the hallway and lobby.

Meanwhile at Georgetown Middle School, 22 students exited the building and went to the football stadium, according to IRSD spokesman David Maull.

Nineteen Selbyville Middle School students participated by going to the gym, however, none went outside.

At Sussex Central High School, 28 students left class and were directed to the cafeteria. None of them left the building. SCHS Principal Dr. Bradley Layfield asked all students throughout the school to observe a 17-second moment of silence.

In Dagsboro, three Indian River High School students left the building, one went to the auditorium, and about a dozen stood in the hallway for 17 minutes. In addition, students were permitted to leave class and stand in the hallway for a brief moment of silence that began at about 10:08 a.m. They returned to class at 10:10 a.m., Mr. Maull said.

All of these activities occurred during the 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. window, Mr. Maull said.

IRSD Superintendent Mark Steele, in a districtwide message to parents and students last week, said a school walkout would pose a major safety concern and be disruptive to the day’s educational process.

Mr. Steele said the district would not support this type of walkout protest and the expectation was that students would remain in the building.

In the vein of the importance of engaging in civic and social discussions, Mr. Steele requested that the “secondary principals work with the students and staff in each of their buildings to develop activities within the safety of our buildings that will provide students a way to voice their concerns no matter where they fall in this debate.”

“This will give students a way to express their views and will enable us to keep all of our students safe,” said Mr. Steele in his districtwide message.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.