The walkouts are set for 10 a.m., one month after the Parkland shooting.
A month to the day that 17 people were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, students in Sarasota and Manatee counties prepared Wednesday morning to walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes to commemorate the victims and protest gun violence.
More than 3,100 walkouts have been organized nationwide, according to the national organization’s website.
In Sarasota County, walkouts have been announced at North Port High School, Venice High School, Sarasota High School, Suncoast Polytechnical High School, Riverview High School and Booker High School. New College of Florida will also be hosting a walk-out.
In Manatee County, walkouts are set to take place at Manatee High School and Braden River High School, as well as the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
Sarasota County Schools opted in late February to work with students to allow them to participate in the walkouts should they so choose. Although the walkouts were student organized, district administrators said in a press release that they wanted students to feel “empowered” during this “unprecedented” national event.
“We acknowledge that many of our students and district employees want to participate in this event to recognize and pay tribute to those who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” said superintendent Todd Bowden in a press release in late February. “I know our students will plan thoughtful events during the 17 minutes of observation on March 14 to remember the fallen, especially fellow students and those in the education field affected by the tragedy.”
A spokesperson for the district said Bowden plans to attend Booker’s walkout, along with principal Rachel Shelley, who was asked to speak on a panel about school security by Florida Gov. Rick Scott days after the shooting in Parkland.
About a week after the Feb. 14 shooting, more than 30 students walked out of class at Venice High School for nearly two hours as a move of solidarity with the students in Parkland protesting gun violence.
At that time, Venice High principal Eric Jackson said he did not “condone” the walkout, adding that the absence of class would not be “approved” or “excused” by Venice’s administration.