Central Indiana students participate in national walkout against gun violence

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — One month to the day a gunman opened fire at Stoneman Douglas High School, students all over the country will walk walk out of class for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 lives lost in the shooting.

Students at several districts across Indiana participated. A FOX59 camera was at IPS’ George Washington High School, where more than a hundred students held up signs and chanted, “No more violence.”

Signs read “March for our lives” and “no guns allowed.” Students said they were protesting to honor the lives of the Parkland victims and demonstrate their solidarity so that state and national leaders know where they stand on gun control.

“Prayers for the 17 victims!” another sign read. “Stop gun violence!”

We also had a crew at Brebeuf Jesuit High School, where students chanted “enough is enough” during their walkout.

Click the spots on the Snap Map above to watch local Snapchat stories from National Walkout Day.

“Your thoughts and prayers are not enough,” read one sign during the Brebeuf walkout. “The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power,” read another.

At Carmel High School, students gathered in the fieldhouse and read the names of victims from the Florida shooting. Photos from the ceremony showed students holding up photos of the Parkland shooting victims and a sign that said, “CHS says never again.”

Another sign said, “Walkout. Register. Organize. Lead. Enough is #Enough.”

Carmel Clay Schools cited “safety reasons” for its decision not to allow students to march outside.

At Hamilton Southeastern High School, students participated in an event inside the school’s gymnasium, as seen in this video from Jack Sutton.

The ACLU encouraged students to participate. The legal advocacy group cited the landmark Supreme Court case Tinker vs. Des Moines, in which the high court ruled that students do have First Amendment rights, even while in school.

However, the court also found that those rights do not permit students to disrupt the educational process while exercising free speech.

Below is a list of plans from some area schools about Wednesday’s walkout:

  • Avon: They will be doing a peaceful assembly at 10 a.m. for students wishing to participate.
  • Carmel: They will have a ceremony in the fieldhouse that will involve reading the names of Florida victims.
  • Indianapolis Public Schools: Five high schools, and even some middle schools and elementary schools, are planning demonstrations. For the most part, students will not leave campus. Instead, they will head to designated safe area on campus and be supervised by staff. Ferebee says he’s proud of students for organizing the demonstration, and he has been talking to his student advisory board about it.
  • Muncie: Students who choose to participate in the walkout will gather at 10 a.m. in the student center and then proceed to the football stadium where speakers, including Sheriff Ray Dudley, will discuss topics related to gun violence and the law. Students will return to class after 17 minutes with their absence excused. Students who choose not to participate will carry on with their usual morning activities.
  • Noblesville: They will have a vigil at 6:45 a.m.; a moment of silence at 7:35 a.m.; a video shown at 10 a.m.; and discussions at lunch. There will also be a special art display honoring victims of school shootings.
  • Perry Township: Southport High School and Perry Meridian will have a brief assembly. Students can walkout if approved by a parent.

Indianapolis Public Schools will all operate by the same guidelines:

  • All walkouts are student-led.
  • Students have the option to participate in the walkout.
  • Students who decide to participate in the walkout will not be punished as long as they follow the rules set by the school.
  • There will be supervision outside for those who choose to participate in the walkout.
  • Participating schools have chosen a designated, safe location on campus for students to gather.
  • There will be supervision inside for those who choose not to participate in the walkout.
  • Parents are being notified of their child’s options and the safety plans in place.

The Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township issued this statement about the event:

“The M.S.D. of Wayne Township continues to work towards providing the safest environment possible for our students and staff.  We have great concern regarding the well publicized proposed 10 a.m. walkout during which school children across America are being encouraged to exit their secured schools and gather outside where a greater safety risk exists. As a result, the M.S.D. of Wayne Township has plans in place to address this safety concern should students choose to participate.  However, for safety reasons, we will not be sharing our safety plan in advance. The school entrances will remain secure and no unauthorized persons will be permitted on campus during this time frame.”

Officials at Decatur Township said they were made aware of a potential threat during protests. Administrators said police determined the threat was not credible. Here’s the statement in full:

Last evening, we were made aware of a post on social media of a threat that was to allegedly take place today within the district.  Once we discovered this threat, we informed the MSD of Decatur Township Police, who had then directly collaborated with the Indianapolis Police Department, to identify and evaluate the situation.  This joint team determined this this is NOT a credible threat.  Maintaining safety in all of our schools is our highest priority.  We will have increased security to preserve the safe environment that we expect every school day.  In light of the national walk out today, we expect student learning to be conducted today like any other day.  Our staff with work with police to ensure the safety of our children.

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) issued this statement:

“We must ensure our schools have the resources needed to keep students safe and prevent another horrible tragedy like Parkland from occurring. By encouraging school safety infrastructure upgrades, more school counselors and mental health professionals, and improved communication, these bills can help keep our kids safe.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) issued this statement:

“It’s encouraging to see so many students making their voices heard in our communities. I believe that we need to take action to reduce gun violence and make sure our schools are safe places to learn. Every student and teacher has the right to go to school every day in a safe environment—and parents and loved ones should be able to trust that they will come home safe at the end of each school day. I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to address these issues.”