Schools across the North Shore are participating in the National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14, organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER.
The walkout will begin at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes, and is scheduled to occur at the same time at high schools across the country to commemorate each life that was lost in the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
North Shore school administrators have opted not to penalize students for participating in the walkout, while also reassuring parents and community members that security plans will be in place.
Below is a round-up of how several North Shore schools plan to manage the walkout.
New Trier Township High School
The New Trier Student Alliance and other student groups are organizing a walkout on the school’s east and west campuses. Students plan to hold a moment of silence at the event to remember all who have lost their lives to school gun violence, and then read the names of the most recent victims. Organizers also hope to attract state legislators to the event to listen to students.
In an email to parents, principals Paul Waechtler and Denise Dubravec of the Northfield campus and Winnetka campus respectively said students will not be penalized for participating, but they are still responsible for homework and any other class assignments.
The school plans to alter the bell schedule and create an open period during the walkout, allowing student to choose whether or not to participate in the walkout, or alternatively go to other areas in the school, such as the library or student commons. The schedule change allows for supervision of students inside and outside of the buildings, and attendance will be taken again following the open period.
Local law enforcement will have an increased presence on both campuses and no visitors will be permitted on either campus from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
North Shore Country Day
Middle and Upper School students will walk outside and observe 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 17 Parkland victims. Many of the students and faculty will raise posters and signs that express a desire for safer communities, schools and workplaces.
Although the walkout is entirely voluntary, the North Shore Country Day students arranging the protest encourage all students, faculty and staff who support the cause to join them.
Loyola Academy students will be excused if they choose to participate in the walkout. Students have organized two options: a walkout and a prayer service. Students who do not wish to participate will remain in their regularly scheduled classes.
Glenbrook North High School and Glenbrook South High School
Superintendent Mike Riggle, Glenbrook South Principal Lauren Fagel and Glenbrook North Principal John Finan met with student leaders on the evening of March 11. In a joint letter to parents on March 12, the administrators shared guidelines for the planned walkout.
Teachers will take attendance as part of normal classroom procedures. The recording of an unexcused absence is an accurate account of attendance. Students who are marked unexcused for the period of time in which they participate in the walkout will not be disciplined as a result of their absence.
Students will be allowed to make up classroom work and assignments missed during the walkout. Unexcused absences during the walkout will not be counted against seniors when determining final exam exemptions. Student attendance and discipline records remain confidential and cannot be shared with colleges and universities.
Deerfield High School and Highland Park High School
Student groups at Deerfield and Highland Park high schools have been discussing plans for a walkout. Some Deerfield students also plan to take their message to Village Hall when school is dismissed, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In a joint letter from District 113 Superintendent Christopher Dignam, Deerfield Principal Kathryn Anderson and Highland Park Principal Elizabeth Perez Robertson, the administration provided guidelines for the planned walkout.
Students choosing not to participate will remain in class with a teacher. While students will not be penalized if they participate, they are still responsible for all homework and assignments. The administration will coordinate with local law enforcement to assist in monitoring the protest and keeping students away from traffic. While the school cannot provide security if students leave campus, administrators plan to work with local law enforcement to coordinate as many safety measures as possible.
The campus will be closed to visitors.
Lake Forest High School
Students at Lake Forest High School plan to walkout and lock arms on the front lawn in a show of solidarity.
Teachers at Lake Forest High School will take attendance at 9 a.m. and at 10:45 a.m. after the walkout is complete. Students gone at other times will have an unexcused absence. Students who elect not to participate will spend time in the cafeteria or the commons.
Some students have said they plan to go to Lake Forest City Hall after the walkout and vote that morning, which could result in unexcused absences.