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NATIONWIDE PROTEST| Maryland schools brace for student walkouts over gun violence

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Turning grief into activism and advocacy, students across the country will walk out of school Wednesday as part of a National school walkout to honor the lives of those killed nearly a month ago at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and to demand safer schools.

Wednesday, March 14, marks the one month anniversary since 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Florida High School. It’s also a day that will mark a nationwide protest, serving as both a memorial and a demand for action.

10:00 A.M. Wednesday students and teachers across the United States will walk out of their schools to honor the lives of the 17 people killed at Stoneman Douglas. Taylor Spivey is a student at Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore County, he says, “I plan on going outside taking a moment of silence and remembering the kids lost.”

The national movement, organized by Empower, is also encouraging participants to demand stricter gun control laws including, a Ban on assault weapons, universal background checks before gun sales and a gun violence restraining order law that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behavior.

Kevin Leary, is running for House of Delegates, he says, “This has become a political issue, it's a shame that they’re using the children as a political pawn.”

Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore County sent a memo to parents on Monday, saying they will hold a non-political, school wide event to counter any potential walk out. They will host a student town hall forum during lunch time for students to voice their concerns and pose questions to state officials.

Howard County Schools do not plan to prohibit student participation, but they do expect all students to remain on campus and students who chose to leave will be considered an unexcused absence.

However, in a letter to parents, Harford County Schools say, “Students who leave buildings may be subject to disciplinary action for disrupting school operations,"

Anne Arundel County Schools are not encouraging students to leave school buildings citing safety reasons. The County’s Superintendet, George Arlotto, released a statement saying, in part, “To be clear, there has been absolutely no direction from my office to impose specific disciplinary action such as suspensions on students who leave school buildings. However, our school system has a Code of Student Conduct to which all students are expected to adhere. It is my hope that students working collaboratively with school administrations can develop appropriate and safe outlets that allow our children to express their passion around this important issue.”

The walkout will last 17 minutes to honor the lives of those killed at Stoneman Douglas.

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