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Red Wing students to join national walkout, protest

Joining students around the nation, over 250 Red Wing High School students gather around the flagpole after walking out of class Wednesday, March 14, 2018, to honor the 17 people who died Feb. 14, in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. The students protested for 17 minutes, one minute for each victim, then held two minutes of silence. Several community members watched the students' protest from afar. Samantha Bengs / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
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To honor the 17 people who died in the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Red Wing students are planning to join a national movement on Wednesday, March 14. At 10 a.m., participating students will walk out of classrooms for a 17-minute protest — one minute for each Parkland victim.

Student organizers said they also plan to write and sign letters to send to lawmakers addressing gun violence.

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In a statement released to families in the district, Superintendent Karsten Anderson said the district supports students' rights to free speech and peaceful assembly as long as activities are not disruptive and comply with school district policies and procedures. The walkout is neither sponsored nor organized by Red Wing Public Schools.

Anderson said the district will address student walkouts in the following ways:

• School leaders will help make sure middle school and high school students leave the building in an orderly fashion. Because of their age, elementary students are expected to remain in the building unless a parent or guardian is present.

• Students who miss all or part of a class may receive an unexcused absence in accordance with district attendance policy.

• Students who are unexcused may forfeit the right to participate in after-school and/or evening activities, including athletic contests and practices, on that day (and the next day if the unexcused absence occurs on a Friday).

• Staff members will strive to maintain student safety while maintaining a productive learning environment for students who do not leave class or the building.

• Students will not be disciplined for protesting, demonstrating or sharing their views. Infractions that occur during a student walkout or other similar activity will be addressed in accordance with the district's discipline policies and student handbooks.

• The school day will proceed as regularly scheduled with all classes in session. Students will be responsible for any missed work, assignments or tests.

The statement encourages parents and guardians to have conversations with their children about their expectations regarding participation in non-school sponsored activities, including walkouts.

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