WEBSTER GROVES, Mo. — Across the nation, students plan to walk out of their classrooms Wednesday morning for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month in Parkland Florida. The demonstration is also supposed to call for gun control measures to be passed in Congress.
In an email to parents, Webster Groves Superintendent John Simpson tells parents, anyone who participates will be marked down as cutting class, but there will be a chance for students to get that excused.
“Meet with the administration to process the experience. Why did you do it? What did you learn from it? What implications does it have moving forward?” explained Superintendent Simpson during Monday’s School Board meeting.
Simpson stood by his decision when taking questions from school board members and parents.
“Supporting them in a meaningful context to learn how to advocate is good for us to do, I know I’ve received pushback on that,” Simpson said.
Amirah Benne, a freshman at Webster Groves High, said she’s still debating whether or not she’ll participate.
“Hearing like the parents and seeing all the kids running out of the school was scary,” said Benne.
The 15-year-old said she’s still haunted by the shooting in Parkland.
“What if you were in that position yourself,” she said.
Amirah has participated in a walkout before. She as one of the many classmates at Webster Groves High, that walked out of the classroom protesting the Jason Stockley verdict.
“When I had a voice it kinda felt really good,” said Benne.
Her mother, Valerie Brown, said she’s perfectly fine with her daughter taking part in Wednesday’s planned walkout if she chooses to participate.
“I think it makes them realize that change doesn’t come from one person, that it takes a big group to really make a big change,” says Brown.
Amirah said, explaining why she participated in the demonstration last time, actually helped her form her opinions.
“So it’s better to write it on paper for me so that you can point out, to give your opinion basically,” she said.
The fact she’s able to express herself in the first place makes her mother proud to live in the district.
“It’s different from how I grew up, that kids have a voice,” said Brown.