Students to speak out about school safety during a national walkout

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- One month after 17 students and staff lost their lives at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School, students across the country plan to walk out of their classes.

“Each school is doing something a little different. We really let the students take the lead on this, and make sure that their voices are heard, and what they’re trying to get out for their message,” Topeka Public Schools' spokesperson Misty Kruger said.

Students at Topeka West will link arms and form a circle, others will walk to a designated area. For 17 minutes they will remember the recent victims of school violence and raise awareness about school safety.

“We are not encouraging nor discouraging students to participate or, families, we think that’s a decision that students and their families need to make.” Auburn-Washburn district spokesperson Martin Weishaar said.

Nationally, this walkout emphasizes the need for more gun control, and it allows students to voice their opinions.

“We’re not at this point advocating for or doing anything in support or in opposition to anything,” Weishaar said.

Safety is a big concern during this walkout and officials have contacted parents and plan to have additional security Wednesday morning.

“We review school safety as an ongoing process. We have an emergency operations planning team that looks at situations and best practice and try to stay on top of things,” Weishaar added.

This walkout is just the beginning of several conversations to come. School officials want to make sure their students are heard.

“We want them to know that we hear them and support them, and we absolutely do, and so this is just one way for them to be able to show that,” Kruger said.

The walkout will take place Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.

Participation is optional, and all students will be excused from class during that time.

All participating students must return back to class once the walkout is complete.