Local schools aim to turn walkouts into learning experiences

Students across Mid-Michigan, and the country, will be walking out of class at ten o'clock Wednesday morning to honor the 17 people killed in the school shooting in Florida last month.

According to ACLU of Michigan Policy Strategist Merissa Kovach, schools schools have the right to punish students who skip class--but the punishment on Wednesday can't be any different than any other day.

"You can't punish the political reason the students are protesting. They do not lose their rights at the school house gates." she said. "It seems like there has been a wave of interest of students who want to get involved in civil discourse and the political debate that has been happening."

Local schools won't be stopping them as many will be using it as a teachable moment with students and staff members collaborating to honor the victims of the Parkland shooting. According to Lansing Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul, the conversation started when Eastern High School students wanted to do something.

"We talked as a board and as an Executive Team and we said, well that's really great that Eastern is doing that, but what if the whole district were to come together and do something all at the same time," she said.

The district wants parents involved too. Caamal Canul says that parents need to make sure children understand the walkout isn't just an excuse to cut class.

"Parents can talk to their children about the importance of caring for your neighbor, making sure that people are safe and to make sure that they're safe. To make sure that they're not infringing on the rights of other students and being kind. This world needs a lot of kindness," she said.

According to Caamal Canul, students won't be punished for choosing to participate or not participate in the event.

Parents can check with their child's district to find out exactly what will be happening at their school.