Schaumburg High students plan to take part in national walkout Wednesday
Some students at Schaumburg High School intend to join peers across the nation in a walkout Wednesday to draw attention to the cause of stricter gun control, particularly in regard to greater school safety.
The planned observation is scheduled to fall exactly a week after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 high school students. Similar walkouts are planned for the one-month anniversary on March 14, as well as the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting on April 20.
"We're not fighting for a gun ban," said senior Angela Rojas. "We're fighting for stricter gun control. We really don't want to feel scared going to school anymore."
Though District 211 administrators have not had much opportunity to discuss the planned walkout with students, officials said their priority will be to ensure the students' safety.
"Our goal as educators is to help develop young people who can fully participate in our democracy," District 211 spokesman Tom Petersen said in a written statement late Tuesday afternoon. "In the event a gathering takes place, we will take measures to ensure that students have a safe forum for expressing their voices in solidarity with other students."
Earlier Tuesday, Superintendent Dan Cates sent a letter to parents outlining District 211's safety protocols and procedures in light of the Parkland tragedy.
Stricter background checks and a waiting period for gun purchases are among the changes that can be made to keep assault rifles out of the hands of troubled teens, Rojas said.
Rojas said she couldn't predict how many students would join her in the National School Walkout. Not knowing whether school officials will support or oppose to the walkout, some students are choosing not to participate to avoid getting in trouble at school or at home, she added.
There is no general prohibition against a student being outside the building when not scheduled to be in class, Rojas said.
Rojas believes some students may choose to miss the entire 50-minute class period that starts at noon while others might stay outside the building until the end of the school day at 2:45 p.m.
Administrators at some area elementary districts, including Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 and Grayslake Elementary District 46, sent letters to parents Tuesday emphasizing that they were prohibiting participation in any walkouts due to their students' younger ages.