Students all over Chicago and in many of its suburbs will walk out of class Wednesday, adding their voices to a national effort aimed at halting shootings in schools.
Kids and their teachers throughout Chicago Public Schools plan to step outside mid-morning for 17 minutes — one minute for each of the people gunned down inside a Parkland, Florida, high school last month. Student activism following that deadly shooting spree by a former student with a semi-automatic long rifle has sparked a national conversation about gun control.
The walkouts appear to have CPS’ tacit approval. Though CPS principals aren’t supposed to be involved, class schedules at some high schools are being moved around to accommodate the walkouts. District officials distributed a resource guide for teachers, and at the last Board of Education meeting, CEO Janice Jackson referred to this “crucial moment in our country,” saying, “I want to make sure our students have an opportunity to express themselves and engage thoughtfully in this national dialogue… Educators and students will decide what’s right for their school community, and as a district we are committed to supporting them.”
Some 200 Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties also will participate in peace-building activities — with 80,000 students assembling in prayer, staging discussions and making signs promoting peace that they’ll hang around schools and parish properties, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“With the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida and the daily violence we experience in our city, we believe this is a time to come together and work as a community of Catholic schools to help achieve a lasting peace,” a spokeswoman said.