CMS students plan walkouts to bring attention to gun violence

Hough High School (Kevin Marlow | WBTV)
Hough High School (Kevin Marlow | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Students around the country will be participating in walkouts to bring attention to gun violence, including students in Charlotte.

About a dozen Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) will participate in the walkout scheduled for Wednesday morning. They want change and to remember the one-month anniversary of the fatal Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Students say they will walk out of their class for 17 minutes - one minute for each life lost during the Florida massacre. They are hoping their actions will make a difference.

"We are empowering the student voice," Myers Park High School senior Jack Osment said.  "We are showing we as students can bring change and we as students want change."

Students say they will wear orange Wednesday morning to show their solidarity. They want lawmakers to do something to end gun violence, including tightening up gun laws to provide the necessary support to those suffering from a mental illness.

The students want leaders to partner with them.

"I want to see our politicians listening and working with young people more," Osment said.

CMS Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox says he appreciates the students standing up against gun violence but wants the walkouts to be organized and peaceful.

"We don't really condone walking out of class," Wilcox said. "We don't condone creating a disruption, but we also understand that this is close to a lot of young people's hearts."

Wilcox says if the walkouts are peaceful and organized, students will not be punished. But Charlotte's top educator does warn students to remain in control.

"If a young person leaves our campuses and place themselves and others in harm's way then we are going to deal with that in an appropriate manner," Wilcox said.

Some schools will also allow students to discuss ways to cut down on gun violence during their homerooms.

List of schools participating:

  • Ardrey Kell High School
  • Cox Mill High School
  • Myers Park High School
  • Independence High School
  • Whitewater Middle School
  • Rock Hill High School
  • Piedmont IB Middle School
  • Rocky River High School
  • Northwest School of the Arts

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