Students at Oak Park-River Forest, Batavia, Schaumburg protest gun violence
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
Some students at Oak Park-River Forest High School walked out of class on Wednesday to protest gun violence.
Videos and pictures on social media showed dozens of students walking out of the building.
The students’ protest coincided with a march on the Florida state capitol in Tallahassee by students from Parkland, Fla., where 17 students were gunned down last week.
Shortly before 1 p.m., school spokeswoman Karin Sullivan sent a follow-up email to parents in which she said several hundred students participated.
They gathered in front of the building, then marched around the block.
“Administrators and security staff with radios accompanied them on the perimeter of the crowd to be sure everyone was safe; the police did a great job of blocking traffic,” Sullivan said.
“The kids were orderly and peaceful. They were out of the building for about a half hour and proceeded to class when they returned. Students at the back of the march were probably a bit late to sixth period, but we didn’t issue tardy passes.”
Sullivan added that she walked along the route with other administrators, and “I was really impressed with how our students conducted themselves.”
Parents had a little advance warning; late Wednesday morning Sullivan had shared with parents, via email, a note that Principal Nathaniel Rouse had sent to faculty and staff earlier in the morning.
“We’ve learned that at noon today students are planning to walk out of the building as part of a grassroots, nationwide, student-led effort to end gun violence,” the note stated, adding that District 200 policies “preclude all District employees from supporting or promoting this effort.”
The note added: “That said, our goal is not to stop students from walking out. They have a right to peacefully protest. Our goal is to ensure that they are kept safe in the process.
“If students in your classes walk out, please allow them to exit peacefully. Administrators and security staff will be monitoring hallways, exits, and the outside of the campus to ensure that students remain safe and peaceful.”\
Teachers were advised to remain in their classrooms “even if all your students choose to walk out.”
The Oak Park Police Department also was notified, according to the school.
According to social media, similiar walkouts were held in Schaumburg and Batavia.