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Loudoun schools prepare for student walkouts

As students across the nation prepare demonstrations against gun violence, Loudoun County Public Schools is widely spreading its policy guidance for student protests with all school principals.

Principals received an email last week as word of student-planned protests began to circulate.

School Board member Debbie Rose (Algonkian) shared the information on her community Facebook page late last week and said that when a walkout took place last year the consequence at most schools was an unexcused absence for the class missed and the need to make up the work before or after school.

“I believe that similar consequences would be imposed in this situation for a 'disruption' to the school day. This will not show up on a college transcript. But, it does force students to fully consider their participation in a walk out. I am discussing with LCPS staff ways to ensure the guidelines are clear and consistently applied across the count,” Rose said in her post.

The LCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities states “students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right. However, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas, or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference.”

The email to principals also shared policies that state should a walkout occur, staff should continue on with lessons, and students who participate in a walkout should receive appropriate disciplinary consequences and should respond to administrative directives.

Like Rose, Eric DeKenipp (Catoctin) shared information on the walkouts on his public Facebook page. He said he has serious concerns since middle school students are planning walkouts in addition to high school students.

DeKenipp also said he felt the LCPS policy was vague and could be interpreted differently by administrators across the county.

“This is a trend that we are seeing regularly now and one that I would classify as VERY disruptive and should be met with firm disciplinary action for students and staff who participate,” DeKenipp said in his post Saturday. “At what point do we put a stop to this type of behavior? At what point do we prioritize education over skipping classes and intentional tardiness that negatively impacts the learning environment for the entire student body.”

He said he was especially concerned with younger middle school students independently walking out of school and that some staff members are encouraging the “truant behavior.”

“Where does it end? What type of values are we instilling in our children by encouraging them to break rules and violate policy? The trend isn’t receding and is in fact becoming prevalent and frequent across our school system,” DeKenipp said. “With that said, I believe we need to show leadership and put an end to it immediately. I look forward to hearing what our plan is and how we will once again prioritize education over insubordination.”

Seneca Ridge Middle School in Sterling is one middle school planning a March 14 walkout demonstration against gun violence. Eighth grader Jacob Wesoky is one of the co-organizers and said approximately 150 people are planning to walk out and that number is growing daily.

Wesoky and his fellow organizer plan on giving a speech on why the walkout is occurring, leading some protest chants and then marching to the soccer field to spell out #ENOUGH, which will be photographed with a drone. The demonstration will last 17 minutes outside the school, one minute for each victim of the Parkland High School shooting in Florida, he said.

“After every major shooting in our country, the only thing our government does is give their thoughts and prayers and then they ignore it and move on. They were not elected to think and pray. Our government needs to do its job,” Wesoky said in an email. “We along with over 1,000 other schools are demanding that Congress takes meaningful action on gun control and that they prove that our children’s lives matter more than the NRA’s money.”

Here is the full statement to LCPS principals:

Loudoun County Public Schools is committed to providing an inclusive, safe, caring, and challenging learning environment for all, regardless of students’ political views. Our commitment to this core belief is important every day. In response to recent calls around the nation for students to participate in marches or walkouts, this document provides expectations for staff and students.

As a reminder, the LCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities (p. 13) states that, “students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right. However, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas, or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference.”

Below are some additional expectations regarding staff and student participation in political activities.

School Board Policy 7524 states:

No employee shall engage in the following activities:
1. Use his or her position within the school division to further a political cause, campaign, or support of any issue on any referendum matter during working hours.
2. Suggest in any official work capacity that the school division, or any component of it, supports or opposes a candidate for election to any office or any particular political party.

This policy exists to create a constructive environment that promotes teaching and learning. We acknowledge that controversial topics are integral to the development of students’ learning, and we are providing the following parameters for sanctioned class discussions and activities as well as unsanctioned activities such as unauthorized walkouts.

● Discussions and other class activities should be directly related to the instructional goals of the course of study.
● The amount of time devoted to the discussion and other class activities should be proportional to the relative importance of the related instructional goals within the course of study.
● The discussion and other class activities should be conducted in a spirit of critical thinking and scholarly inquiry that is free from harassment and coercion.
● The design of the discussions and other class activities are balanced in terms of content and time devoted to varying perspectives.
● The discussion and other class activities should be approached in a way that matches the knowledge and maturity level of the students.
● Staff have the constitutional right to free expression, and they need to exercise this right on their own time.
● School staff should not support or criticize students for their viewpoints.
● If a walkout does occur, staff are directed to continue to fulfill their responsibilities in the school
building unless otherwise directed by an administrator.
Student Participation in Political Activities

Students have the right to participate in activities as long as their activities do not disrupt the instructional day or create an unsafe environment. Principals are encouraged to provide a safe and peaceful opportunity for students to express their opinions in a manner that does not disrupt learning (such as before or after the school day or at lunch time). Principals might also consider curriculum- related activities during the instructional day, as long as they occur within the preceding expectations.

● Students participating in unauthorized marches or walkouts are expected to respond to administrative directives at all times.
● Students who leave class without permission, disrupt school activities, or otherwise commit other violations of the code of conduct should receive the appropriate disciplinary action.
Administrator Responsibilities
● Administrators should communicate clear expectations that students who leave class, disrupt school activities, or commit other violations of the code of conduct will receive the appropriate disciplinary action.
● Administrators should treat all political activities, including walkouts, with a consistent, unbiased perspective focused on safety and learning.
● If a walkout occurs, administrators should direct students to identified safe assembly points that also take into consideration the possibility of political activity by students with other perspectives.
● Administrators should take steps as appropriate to promote student safety, including, if necessary, directing students back to their classrooms if the situation becomes unsafe.
● Administrators should not allow members of the public to participate in any walkout. Parents or other visitors who come to school for sanctioned purposes are required to follow normal procedures for checking in and out of the building. Student walkouts are not sanctioned activities.
● The amount of time and names of students participating in a walkout or other political activity should be noted for attendance and other purposes.
● School administrators are encouraged to respond by telephone or in person to stakeholders who raise individual concerns.
● Administrators should notify law enforcement if, in their judgment, students appear to be leaving the school campus in large numbers or in a manner that could pose a risk to themselves or the public.
● Administrators should work with the Public Information Office and their level director to
communicate with their school community following any walkout or disruption that occurs.
If school staff have questions or concerns, they should contact their school principal. If principals have any questions or concerns, they should reach out to their level director, the Director of School Administration, or the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction. By working together, LCPS can maintain an inclusive, safe, and supportive learning environment for each student in Loudoun County Public Schools.

Update: This article has been updated to clarify the nature of the School Board member's Facebook pages. A previous version of this article referred to the pages as "official Facebook pages" to distinguish from private, personal Facebook pages. However, the pages are not affiliated with LCPS in an official capacity.


Jeanne T, what does your tide pod statement mean? Who is a gun expert? Is that suppose to be the answer to the tide pod question? Realistically how many idiots really tried to do that, probably trying to get their 15 minutes of fame on the internet.

Wwwebs, considering that most high school shootings are done by current or recently graduated students raising the age limit to 21 might give them a long enough cooling off period. This may even help lower the suicide rate among teens.  I don’t know how you can say that more gun laws would not help, every state that has stricter gun laws has seen their crimes by guns go down. That would mean stricter gun laws WOULD help fix the problem.  If assault style riffles were taken off the market there would be less carnage when these shootings occur. Look at the AR-15, it is the civilian version of the military’s m-16, but semi-automatic. There should be a ban on the size of magazines for the same reason. As far as the deranged people go there should be better background checks and mental illness should be deemed a ‘must report’ or face a fine. Background checks should include gun show and internet sales and transfers even to family members. We have a gun that was left to my husband by a relative when he wasn’t even a teen yet. Thank God he is a responsible person, but when that gun was put in the will the owner had no idea what kind of person would have use of it later.
No kid should have to attend a school that is militarized. It is a new world and creating new policies and controls to meet the needs of this change should be happening. Too many politicians are owned by the NRA and ignore the majority of their constituents. The NRA only cares about the money they are getting, not so much about the lives taken. If this were not so they wouldn’t have ties with the Russians. Though the NRA likes to say it is Torshin under investigation not them, it was his relationship with the NRA that he became an international election observer and gained access to Trump.

Amerigirl - What more controls would work? It is already illegal to shoot someone if not in self-defense. It is already illegal to have guns in a gun free zone. It is already illegal for a felon to own or possess a gun. It is already illegal to sell guns on the streets…criminals don’t go to the gun store, or Dick’s, or Wal-Mart to buy their guns.
A concealed weapons holder has passed a federal background investigation, submitted fingerprints to the county, has no violent misdemeanor convictions, no felony convictions, is not under adjudication for mental illness. Statistically, they are among the most law abiding citizens in the country.
There are over 350 million guns in America. If guns were really the problem, we’d all be dead by now.
More gun laws are NOT going to fix the problems with these deranged people. They don’t care about laws and if guns were all destroyed, they would just find another weapon to use.
As to who is going to pay for hardening the schools and the fear of it looking/feeling like a prison…I would rather have my child informed about the sickos of the world and safe behind some armed guards and protected facility that have to visit their gravesite.
Like I have said…we live in a new world, new times, new threats. And we cannot expect our old ways to protect us any longer. Do I like it, no. But SOMETHING needs to be changed and if we can’t find a couple billion dollars in the federal government to pay for this, then is protection really the priority with our elected officials?

“Are you kids still eating those Tide pods?”

“No, we are experts on guns this week.”

Wwwebs, not really, I think you should be able to have firearms but there needs to be better control. I do not believe that our children have to attend school in a militarized (or as you say hardened) building. What other country, which is not at war, has the problems that we have here? Can you imagine you little kindergartener having to go through that? That is suppose to be their formative years. They should not have to grow up wondering if they need protection when they leave the house. Who would pay for all these security guards? That would be a huge budget, if they went with the 20% that Trump wanted it would cost somewhere around a billion dollars.  I don’t believe that you would or could find very many elementary teachers that want to carry a gun. Even in higher grades you are asking people who have never killed anyone to say that if they think it is necessary they might have to kill one of their students, take the chance of shooting someone in crossfire, or risk being shot themselves when SWAT shows up. School shooting can’t be compared to the cold war. The ones doing the shooting have a connectio0n with that school. When has there been a school shooting that the shooter has not been connected to the school? Since they have ties to the school they could probably figure out how to work the system to their advantage.

All good ideas, wwwebbs, except for one small thing:  Money.  The metal detectors would be a no brainer if every person used one entrance to gain access to a school, which should be the case anyway.  But putting that number of armed security in each school is pretty unrealistic in that the county, state, or fed is now paying for six more employees in each school, which by your numbers comes to 834,000 new employees, (I think there are more schools in the US than that), but you get the point. I’m not even sure what those employees would do all day besides circulate through the school, which would make it seem more like a prison than a school.

As much as people want to blow up over the idea, there are two truths:  Not all teachers are liberals, and there are certainly plenty who either have a CCW or would consider applying for one.  That would be the most cost effective way to do it, but is it the safest and most logical?  I’ve heard arguments like, “What if my gun goes off?”  “What if a student reaches for it while I’m in close proximity and accidentally pulls the trigger?”  “What if the intruder is a student?”  Those arguments are obviously driven by people who either want guns gone or don’t actually understand how they function.

There are schools in this country where teachers carry.  I’d like to see the data on how they were trained, how they manage a firearm in the class room, and what the response was from the parents and surrounding community when they implemented the program. Designing an argument around “What if’s..” solves nothing. 

Nor does a walkout.

hardworkingamerican So many conspiracy theories, you must be a Alex Jones follower, did you believe in pizza-gate too? I don’t know what schools you went to but it wasn’t that way in Fairfax, as long as you had a note form a parent. Thanks for the compliment on thinking I’m young, guess you’re only as old as you feel. Unfortunately, I’m old enough to have lost friends in the Vietnam War. You really need to fact check, the Russians started their info warfare in 1998, it changed over the years. WOW so Obama and Clinton are to blame? How about the Russian interference in the presidential races in other countries like France, their fault too? Hindsight is always 20 20. Clinton did not have any governmental position at the time, what was she suppose to do? Obama expanded sanctions against Russian billionaires and banks, and expelled 35 Russian diplomats in response to Russian cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee. He didn’t just say ‘they said they didn’t do it’. Trump won’t even sign into law the sanctions that were passed by Congress. What if anything has he done after over a year in office? As I have said, I have worked in schools, in 2 counties and I know how security works. You can use all the capitals you want, if you think I don’t know what it means than you are mistaken. I guess you just feel superior to everyone else so you treat them as if they are stupid, that would be your stupid mistake. What liberal policies say we have to give them an education? Give facts because in Loudoun and Fairfax you cannot attend public school unless you have an original birth certificate, and vaccine report.
Jeanne T., why would they get extra credit? Get something for nothing? That will teach them a lot. It’s like you all have lumped all 18-year olds into 1 group, yep they’re all the same, and probably in a gang, except those who want to buy guns. I think you will find that those more immature for being 18 years of age either don’t vote or vote for who their parents tell them to.  True, many of them don’t use good judgement, but I would rather see them use bad judgement voting and learn from it, than use it while drinking or shooting where they (or someone else) might not get a chance to learn from it.
Arbie, I have to agree with you, cars are a necessary part of life to maintain a job, and laws are made to correct situations. That is what the students are asking for. So those analogies don’t fit here.

I may be naive thinking that this group could ever agree on anything, but hear me out for a minute or two.
I believe we agree on TWO things:
First is we are never going to agree on gun control measures. One side wants all, the other want nothing. Can we agree on this?

Second is we need better security for our schools. I certainly believe we all agree on this. As I stated earlier, we live in a different world now than when we were kids. It is time to take the security of our schools more serious and start thinking outside the box. The old sign in at the front office and get a name tag mode of security isn’t cutting it anymore. Things need to change, and taking guns from law abiding citizens is NOT the answer.

We need to restrict, by physical means, ways people access schools. Sallyports, metal detectors, xrays, armed and trained guards are a good start.

There are approximately 139,000 public, private and postsecondary schools in the U.S. Look at the number of jobs that could be created by putting 6-8 armed and trained security guards in each of these schools. I don’t think arming teachers, as a rule, is the right way to go. Certainly if they volunteer and pass rigorous training standards, they should be given the opportunity.

Also, it is not likely going to break out into a gun battle. Once people realize schools are hardened and there are armed guards there, they are going to look for softer targets. Just like the Cold War, the reason the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were in an arms race was mutually assured destruction—One side would not attack the other because both would be destroyed. Same holds true here.

At least that’s my plan…Anybody have anything better?

Will students who choose to attend school instead of walking out be afforded extra credit?

Dutch:  Touché. You have accurately summed up our dilemma. And to think 18-year-olds can vote. Perhaps we should raise the voting age to 21. After all, if an 18-year-old isn’t mature enough to learn to handle firearms, or purchase alcohol, surely they are’t mature enough to elect our leaders.

Katniss Raven Hawk Wolf:

You believe only the Government should have guns; you said so (“I don’t need protection from you. Let’s leave that to the police and military”).  Tell us, how did that work out for the Armenian Christians in Turkey, under the Ottomans? Have you heard of the Armenian genocide, Katniss? When the Ottoman government went house to house and confiscated all guns from the Armenians? When Christian girls and women were raped and crucified, and their naked bodies hung on crosses that lined the roads? How did gun control work out in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Nazi Germany, etc.?

“We need teachers, personnel, and students to have a peaceful, clear, safe mind when they enter buildings.”

OK, so how should that be accomplished, exactly? You haven’t offered up one concrete solution. How do you propose to make schools safe? Do you want metal detectors, police with guns at every school?

Put on your thinking cap, Katniss, and dazzle us with your proposals.

Ah amerigirl taking your shot as you always do.  That’s ok will always humor your misguided application of facts as you attempt to associate them with policy. By the way obviously you are young because in the true years of responsibility, you walk out of school you didn’t “make up your work” you got a zero.  Of course “back in the day” we were held to strict rules, unlike today. You are right about the Russians that were empowered by the DNC, Hillary and the Obama administration who laughed them off as a threat when Mitt Romney talked about them on the campaign trail.  Of course the reason was Obama and crew were colluding with Russia to give them access to everything including Uranium.  But back to the main issue.
As pointed out there are so many crimes committed by gangs and illegals that do not get the social/liberal face time but are a far greater threat as they influence weak minds in schools.  Illegals in high schools that are 22 and older and many who don’t know their age because they have been plucked and inserted into the schools where our precious children go and told to keep quiet as they recruit future MS 13 gang members.  (Remember liberal policies say we must give them an education no matter what)  Most have no idea how school security works.  I do, so don’t respond just read and learn.  As far as typing in capitals, it’s called stressing a point.  Social media gets offended because someone wants to accent a point with capitals?  Snowflakes abound in all shapes and forms.  You want to make a difference as the real focus gets lost in the garbage.  Stop quoting statistics and put the funding where it belongs so that statistics cease.  Protecting our children!  (Gee is an exclamation point considered the same as a capital??)  There is so much waste in any government bureaucracy, so sad that officials sit on their benefits and point the finger while schools have to beg for more security cameras and necessary resource officers to student ratios.  Take the time to find out how to help schools get what they need to keep our children safe. 

“For many to be safe and secure, few must give up their rights temporarily! 
There no caps. 
Feel better?

Katniss, at no point was there ever mention that teachers would be “forced” to have a firearm in their class rooms.  The program, if implemented, would be completely voluntary and only for those who already have or are willing to obtain a permit to carry concealed.  What “mental burden” do the 430,00 people in Virginia who have a permit place upon you?  And what is the “First Amendment Rule?”  Aren’t the Amendments rights, not rules?  A rule implies an obligation, as in the Second Amendment would obligate citizens to carry a firearm.  That’s not how rights work.  They are available, but not obligatory.  Are you going to volunteer your time to supervise your kids when they walk out?  Is your children’s safety your “mental burden” or that of the staff who are trying to teach at that time?  Is it the “mental burden” of the staff to provide time for your kids to make up the work they missed because they walked out with your support, or are you going to bring them in early or pick them up late so they can make up the work they missed while they were posting videos of each other on Snapchat?  Are your kids actually safer outside or in the school?  If they are safer outside, have you considered homeschooling? One would actually have to understand Civics to teach it.

Katniss Raven Hawk Wolf - Interesting that your first sentence asks for people to stop calling people names and then you go ahead and do it yourself.  A little advice from someone that is not a cowboy.

Everyone’s got an opinion here, don’t they. Stop calling people names,

Go Kids Go.  You are fighting for your lives and souls.  As these comments show, most of these people don’t have a clue and few really care what you think, so stick you feelings on this topic right down heir throats cause remember without you, there is no future.

Hardworkingamerican, I have not heard of students in protest being open targets and shot, that seems to take place in the schools, concerts, etc. Yes, we put guns in the hands of 18-year old’s in the military, and we train them, we decide where they can carry a gun, and they are supervised. The guns are NOT just handed over to them. I have NEVER heard anyone attack the military because they are left, you just have a point of view, not facts.
I agree that they need to do something about social media. The Russians are weighing in on everything, including this recent school shooting. Trump has not given his permission for the government to do anything as of yet.
Levrier, if there is a conservative cause that causes harm or loss of life to students then I would back it 100%. As far as your perspective the actual figure is 7015 by gun, 1604 by knife, these figures are actual deaths, injuries not included, and if a knifeis a knife than all guns are guns, not rifles only. FBI data shows there were about 11,000 gun-related homicides in 2016, up from 9,600 in 2015. Figures from 2017 should really outpace that with the 317 mass shootings with a higher kill ratio. There have already been 48 mass shootings this year. These are shootings which does count injured. The U.S. has the 31st highest rate in the world: 3.85 deaths due to gun violence per 100,000 people in 2016. And that is counting countries with drug lords running much of the crime, and countries that are at war, like Iraq and Syria.That says ao much on how we value our citizens in the US.

@IngridLoCo:  Interesting read, Google “Schools safer today than in 1990s, study on shootings says” for Wash Times story.

Everyone’s got an opinion here, don’t they. Stop calling people names, and stop typing in capital letters. grow up already. Oh yeah, you’re angry huh? If your kid was killed at school from gunfire, then you have the right to scream your head off. Otherwise, stop yelling in letters, it’s beyond rude.  We are beyond that. Personally, I like being called a “Liberal”. It makes my heart sing. Regarding the school walkout, my spouse and I are in full support of our child walking out of school, as it is a constitutional First Amendment rule that we can and should peacefully protest. If my child gets suspended, I do not care. If you think I am going to allow you to threaten my family with guns in schools, you are out of your friggin minds. I will be the first to pull my child out of public school over this. Teachers have enough stress on their plates without having something as preposterous as having forced guns in their classrooms. So, go ahead, scream your 2nd Amendment rights till the cows come home. It ain’t happening cowboy. Not on our watch.  We do not need guns in our schools. We need teachers, personnel, and students to have a peaceful, clear, safe mind when they enter buildings. You already have carry and conceal, which we as citizens have to bear the mental burden of. Oh, right, you think you’re a good guy with a gun? Good luck with that. You might be a “good guy” with a gun, but I don’t need protection from you. Let’s leave that to the police and military, huh?

I don’t understand how people can read statistics and still hold true to their ignorant beliefs.  The amount of mass shootings only occur at the alarming rates they do here in American BECAUSE OF THE AMOUNT OF GUNS/ASSAULT RIFLES THAT PEOPLE OWN IN THIS COUNTRY

We hear left-wing activists raise hysteria over the prospect of school shootings in Loudoun.  Is that realistic?  Let’s look at history.

In Loudoun, a retired couple was heinously attacked by gang members while walking down the street.  One was killed and one was irreparably harmed with a .... blunt object.

In Loudoun, a young Muslim girl was attacked, beaten, raped and killed walking back to her mosque by an illegal alien with a ..... baseball ball.

In Loudoun, illegal immigrant gang members assaulted and killed a Hispanic youth and buried him in West Virginia.  No guns involved.

At Ashburn Meadows, two illegal immigrants assaulted and killed a person with knives.

We have had way too many south suicides, often via hanging.

What do these have in common?  Well, none used guns and all involved tragic violence.  Yet, the left-wing activists are not protesting illegal immigrants who pose a real threat to their kids here in Loudoun (they would rather have them as future voters).  They are not protesting knives or ropes.

Gun violence is unquestionably far below the levels of the 1990’s when most of these activists were in school (wither K-12 or college).  Yet to hear them scream, you would think it had doubled or tripled.  This is why nearly all the arguments they present are devoid of facts.  Our students are supposed to be learning about data-driven decisions.  These left-wing activists are teaching their kids to base decisions off of hysteria and emotions, regardless of data.  Interesting lesson.

Curious whether law enforcement will be at each school where/when kids walk out? Everyday I read about another young adult(HS Kid) being turned in for wanting to harm others at school, so worry about those that are being silent. Maybe the schools should just hold a fire drill during walkout.

The truth is if the students want to act like adults and some are at 18 years old they can walk out and expect the teachers to protect them as much as possible.  However if should also expect to act like adults when and if punishment is handed out.

AS far as mental health goes it is sad to see some many children with so much hate in their heart at sush a young age.

I find it very interesting that a school district that has invested so much into “One to the World” project based learning has responded to the possibility of student walkouts with threatening e-mail to staff, students and parents.

and just like that… NO ONE CARES ABOUT OPIOIDS ..... which kill ALOT MORE KIDS…. annnnnnnnnnd ARE IN THE POCKETS OF ALOT MORE POLITICIANS….. GTFOH all of you hypocrites.  Social media is killing our kids…

“the problem is mental illness, not guns.”

I might buy that if these crazies were attacking people with cucumbers.  But, maybe you’ve noticed it seems to be lethal weapons that these young white men are using.

So let’s focus on what’s killing people, not who is doing it.  Take care of the what and the who becomes much less interesting.

“DeKenipp said. “...prioritize education over insubordination.”

How about prioritizing safety over education.  How much is their education worth if they are killed by a mass murderer or having one shoot up a class room?

Guns in the hands of the mentally ill or the criminal element is the problem, not guns in general. In addition the way we train and teach our children in schools to deal with an active shooter is problematic. Most kids and people in active shooter situations get killed because they hide in classrooms and under desks. This makes them sitting ducks. The other issue that needs to be explored is the impact of psychotropic medications. If you think the NRA is a problem take a look a big Pharma. They are bigger and spend far more in lobbying to hide the potential side effects of some of their medications. There is a link between some depression medications, and ADHD medications with violence toward other and with suicide. Please people take a look at the potential side effects before you place yourself or your child on these powerful drugs.

Oh my GOD, so much ignorance and politics and zero understanding of reality.  So sad this is what our country has come too.  Unless you have been associated directly with school security and what goes on inside everyone needs to keep their mouths shut!!! None of you know unless you are the SSO or resource officer or have close association with those who have fulfilled those roles.  A walk-out does one thing right off the bat.  It makes students an open target.  STUPID!!  And those of you who support the walk out are putting them at risk.  As far as guns go and what happens in a gun fight and so forth, we put guns in the hands an 18 year old in the military and put them in a situation fighting for America’s and their life, freedom and safety.  Then of course the left attacks the military, while they use tax dollars to protect themselves with GUNS and then want to take guns out of the hands of AMERICANS!!  Thank goodness the mother and daughter that were attacked recently in their shop by a robbery had their guns.  WAY TO GO!! The Florida event is horrible but the cause of it is not guns.  The cause is incompetence at so many levels, but to fix incompetence requires people to pay a price for that incompetence and requires loser politicians to actually do their damn job.  Wake up and become involved with the hate and attacks that has become social media!  A threat on social media must be taken seriously EVERY SINGLE TIME!!  Instead people cheer when others say horrible scary things.  I will leave everyone with the cure to this.  LIKE IT OR NOT!!!  HERE IT IS!!  FOR MANY TO BE SAFE AND SECURE, FEW MUST GIVE UP THEIR RIGHTS TEMPORARILY!  END OF STORY!!

@EdMyer - more kids die from alcohol use (excessive drinking, driving drunk, etc) each year yet you don’t see kids walking out for that.  You don’t see adults screaming about the evil beer, wine and hard alcohol manufacturers.  Why?  Because most people consume alcohol responsibly, just like most gun owners do.  This is simply a small group of people that just don’t like guns and pushing their agenda on others.  Kids are a great tool to use because they are like sponges; they absorb everything they are told be it right or wrong.

Two weeks ago, politicians were telling us we need to regulate laundry detergent because teenagers were eating it. Today, they are telling us we need to listen to teenagers when it comes to enacting gun control.

Virginiia sgp, can you ever make a statement without using the term radical left-wing? If you were a teenager in school would you be thinking in terms of left or right, or life and death? You make it sound like 130 lost lives is hardly anything, it is so powerfully something that should not have happened. That does not even include the number of students that were injured.  Yes, they have planned 2 walkouts, so far they are not a monthly thing. If you think this is about the left then you haven’t listened to those kids. This is not some conspiracy theory.
If my kids wanted to walk out for their beliefs and were willing to accept an unexcused absence and make up the work then they would have my blessing. They aren’t old enough to vote yet and need to start taking responsibility for the world they want to live in.
Having a weekend protest would not draw any attention to their cause. This is a school, not a job, and a missed day will not be that detrimental to them. The reality is that their school work can be made up.
All I see in many of the posts here is the blame game. John M “Teachers are filling students’ heads with their own political beliefs” and not writing to Congress (they have met with their senator, governor, the president) Virginia SGP -  the radical left, Loudoun for Trump – liberals scaring school kids (like the guns had no effect on them) to get rid of the 2nd amendment, GetaGRIP -  because it is unfair to pro gun and NRA kids,
Or they are comparing their protest to stupid things that won’t get them shot and maybe killed, like walking out to support building the border wall.

I am the first to acknowledge that I do not have complete answers, but I do know that if we only focus on the short term, we will never solve this.  100 years from now, our great grandkids will still be targets.  Do not let the NRA groupies distract the national conversation.  This is more than a silly argument about words and walkouts.


scapegoating & gaslighting much?

50 die every day by gun in us
rage, hostility, being disgruntled, substance abuse, and situational factors are more likely factors than mental health issues

mentally ill NOT inherently more violent -
< likely to kill with firearms than so-called “sane” counterparts
> likely to kill themselves (2/3 of gun fatalities are suicides)

Bravo! I fully support students (two of whom will be mine) that want to respond to this issue by participating in the walkout.

No successful social or political movement was ever achieved by bowing to the majority, those in power, or the status quo.

Those that want “discipline” or “consequences” are missing the point or they just disagree with the student’s position. The same rationales helped to buttress slavery, Apartheid, etc.

Whether you agree with the students or not, supporting their entry into civic engagement should be cheered on, not spurned - often by the very same people who have accused the same kids of caring about nothing.

I suspect we’ll all find out what the LCPS considers a “substantial disruption” if/when students walk out over a conservative cause.  Suddenly the line won’t be so grey. 

As a side note, we should keep things in perspective here.  In 2016 the CDC says that 522 people were murdered in the US with all rifles (including ‘assault’ rifles) and shotguns combined. 

That same year:

1,781 people were stabbed to death.

When I was in school, we did not have school shootings. They just didn’t happen anywhere nearly as frequent as post-1999. In fact a number of my school friends carried hunting rifles in their vehicles with no fear and outrage from the uninformed anti-gun crowd. My high school had a rifle club. We were literally handed rifles by school staff. We were taught resposibility and firearm safety.

What changed?

Guns haven’t changed. Gun laws are not weaker.

It’s also worth noting that back in those days, we didn’t have hyper-realistic violent video games, movies and TV shows that glorify killing the way that this generation has. Our country and culture valued healthy family values and neighborly love. God was still welcome in our schools. The toxic, poisonous thing we call “social media” did not exist to give a megaphone to hate, violent language and cyberbullying.

What has changed?

Guns are not the problem. It’s MUCH more complicated than the left thinks it is.

Anyone referring to Indivisible as a “radical left-wing” group must be so far to the right that they’ve lost all perspective.

I’m surprised the usual naysayers haven’t invoked Tide pods yet.  Come on guys, get on your game!

On a more serious note, all the letter-writing in the world appears inadequate to provoke even the the tiniest response when it comes to minimizing gun violence.  Disruption, like it or not, has been a key element in innumerable civil rights movements and other social progress initiatives.  I’m not necessarily saying there shouldn’t be consequences for walking out of class, but in reality what most people are saying here in the comments is that they just want these students to spin their wheels out of sight with nothing to show for it.  You know that writing letters is extremely unlikely to accomplish anything, and that’s just fine with you.

As far as why we’re not freaking out over vehicle collision casualties or other such incidents, that’s just a lazy and inadequate analogy.  We actually have passed and enforced laws to minimize unnecessary injury and death, and we severely punish those who violate those laws.  The same should be the case for guns and perpetrators of gun violence.  And no matter how hard you try to obscure the facts and muddy the waters by lumping gun violence in with car deaths, the fact remains that a gun is fundamentally different from a car.  A gun’s sole purpose is maiming and killing.  It’s not incidental, or hypothetical. Guns are in a category all by themselves, and just because other causes of death dwarf the number of gun deaths doesn’t mean that we should be satisfied with where things stand now.

Ha!  Blah, Blah, Blah…same ole stuff. Most responses to any article is liberals are the cause of the problems and conservatives are the answer to salvation and life.  Spare me.  All you windbag conservatives, the new generation of young kids isn’t taking a liking to this bully style most conservatives have.  Watch out.

Yea! Why aren’t we banning cars? Cars kill people and the gun huggers say guns SAVE lives- so there.

One obvious question does arise-
If guns can’t kill people how can guns save lives?

Getta Grip, According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study evaluating the New York Police Department’s firearm training, between 1998 and 2006, the average hit rate of a suspect during gunfights was just 18 percent. When suspects did not return fire, police officers hit their targets 30 percent of the time.

OK, so, among the best trained in the world, the miss rate of a fired weapon towards a suspect is a whopping 70-82%. We don’t see this percentage played out in the buddy cop movies, do we?

The data shown in this study represented, clearly, what any police officer who has ever been involved in a shooting can tell you–firing accurately in a stressful situation is extremely hard. Donald Trump and the NRA,  on the other hand, appear to blind towards this information.

Let’s look at the physical nature and responses to pulling a trigger. Remember, we are not talking about gun ranges here. We are talking about pointing a gun at another, and firing.

I pulled out an article in TIME Magazine in 2012. In this piece, journalist Amanda Ripley looked at and wrote what happens in the brain and body when gunshots are fired. What she found is, in a word, amazing.

Here is what she found.

“Once the eye sees a target as a target, the brainstem sends out signals that cause blood vessels to constrict and body hormones to surge. Eyesight then becomes narrower (literally tunnel vision) after an audible loud bang (gun fire).”  She continued, people who have been in gunfights describe while in the fight, limited hearing (like the ear simply closes up), and perceived time slowing down. (this part has been depicted in movies). Amid this physical internal chaos, we expect police officers, [and special gun agents as you want]  to make difficult, split-second decisions. Seems a lot to ask.

She then wrote,  “during a gunfight, it is actual human nature to lose dexterity and motor skills, as the brain reverts back and forth debating its basic fight or flight instincts.”

Pretty scary stuff, don’tcha see? So, having more guns around doesn’t necessarily mean you are safer, according to these studies. Actually, if there is a confrontation with guns and police, using the NYPD study as guidelines, the perp is at best going to be hit by fewer than a third of the bullets fired by police. Thirty percent of shots fired? Where do you think the other bullets go? 

Counsinsam - So when kids become adults and walk out of their job because they don’t agree with something that their leadership says, is the message that you can show up tomorrow without consequence?  Is that really what will happen?  Shouldn’t we be teaching out kids reality?  I told my son if he walks out during school hours he will lose the car and his phone. If it means that much to him, then he will walk, and consequences will be issued.

This walkout is a learning experience for kids.  It’s teaching them the value of engaging and becoming good citizens who don’t take it lying down. 

To read all the hate for LCPS on this site (especially from one particular troll) you’d think the kids will be better off outside because obviously LCPS isn’t educating our kids or caring about them at all.  Right?

Liberals resort to using school kids as pawns in their effort to erase the 2nd amendment….very sad…why cant the liberals talk to adults about the issue—because they even know they are wrong…the only ones they can convince is school kids after scaring them half to death…pathetic, and you wonder why half the kids in DC cant read when they graduate

Every student in Loudoun can walk out of class today and it won’t change a thing. If we told them that Unicorns are being banned in Westeros and created a hash tag, they would also walk out for that with equal enthusiasm, taking selfies and posting to instagram along the way.

Most minors have privileges bestowed by their parents. not rights, especially while they are in school.

Call me psychic, but I get the feeling these “airheads” and “class cutters” would be “champions of free speech” and congratulated for standing up to the liberal media if they were walking out to support building the border wall.

davisb - I am not a member of the NRA and I support banning assault rifles.  With that said, I also believe in the Supreme Court that state the 1st Amendment does not exist in schools when it disrupts the purpose of the school, learning.  I also have no issue with kids protesting, but they should do it on the weekend or a school holiday/teacher work day.  My issue is with disrupting the education of those that do not want to leave to protest, and sending the wrong message that do want to leave.  Let’s debate those points, or are you afraid of a “meaningful conversation”?

As usual, those that support a walkout don’t answer the simple question of why not do on Saturday or after school? It will be time wasted for most to check their cell phones, take a smoke break, laugh and joke about setting up next protest or where the next big drinking party is. Back in the day, kids would get detention or suspended from school for doing this. Unsure how/why any student can disrupt a class and not be punished? And no matter what they do/say during this walkout, it won’t change anything, except give another mental person a reason to shoot/kill more people. Thanks media you’re part of the problem.

I’m confused Pelicano, did the gun walk into the school itself and shoot those kids?  The issue is not guns, it is mental illness and multiple failures by the almighty government that the “alt-lefters” cherish.  I have no interest in owning an AR-15, but it is not my right, nor yours, to dictate who can own what in this free country.

And by the way, no one here is saying they can’t exercise their rights, but there should be consequences if they choose to exercise those rights DURING school.  How about they show up 17 minutes early or stay 17 minutes past the bell, thus causing no disruption to others?!  The fact that not one of them collectively thought of that may be considered an “airheadish” move. not “airheads,” that would have

You know, a quick search of the internet finds there are, on average, 3287 traffic fatalities PER DAY. Of those, 28 were caused by drunk driving, 361 were attributed to drugged driving, and a whopping 822 were caused by distracted (texting, reading, eating, etc.) driving. These are PER DAY statistics. Where is the outrage? Why are we not banning cars? Why are we not banning alcohol?
Yes, the NRA does protect our 2nd Amendment rights. But did you also know that the NRA has the largest number of certified firearms safety instructors? Did you know there is a National School Shield Program fully funded and supported by the NRA? And that there is no cost to the schools to use this program, in fact, grants are often made to the schools to help defray the costs of additional security?
There are already laws in effect that are ineffective in curbing the violence in schools. It is time to stop using the NRA as a scapegoat and listening to what they have to say.
Since 24 hour news services have been on the air, they compete to see who can scoop who. They then talk about one story for hours, even days and in the case of a mass shooting, they make the unstable shooter famous. Then the next unstable person who is ready to end their miserable life decides “Hey, I can be famous too.” And so it goes.
We live in a different world now than when we were kids. It is time to take the security of our schools more serious and start thinking outside the box. The old sign in at the front office and get a name tag mode of security isn’t cutting it anymore. Things need to change, and taking guns from law abiding citizens is NOT the answer.
There are approximately 139,000 public, private and postsecondary schools in the U.S. There are approximately 453,000 unemployed veterans and approximately 3.4 million retired military. That is a pretty good sized pool of resources to be called upon to put trained, armed security in our schools. Granted, not all are able, not all would, and not all should participate. But if only 10% answered the call, there would be approximately 400,000 personnel to help protect our children.
Just a thought.

When can PRO GUN kids walk out? Pro NRA walkout?

Only in America would someone presume to suggest that 7.5 children being murdered each year at school by gun violence is evidence that nothing is wrong.

Hopefully this signals the end of the Eric DeKenipp experiment in Loudoun.

Well students can’t wear a tee shirt with a “No” symbol over top of an image of a gun because that is forbidden attire.  No images of guns on clothing allowed. There isn’t freedom of speech even after children leave the school grounds if the activity is semi-related to school.

AsAnton Scalia said in the Heller opinion, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” 

We’re about to add a few more much needed limits and the minority who blindly support the terrorism practiced by the NRA will just have to deal with it. 

I am pleased to see the younger generation cutting through the nonsense.  Working through this issue will benefit them far more than a couple more hours spent prepping for standardized tests.

I’m curious how many of these supportive parents are willing to take a day off from work and help supervise their students when they walk out.  On average, a middle school has a principal, two AP’s, three deans, and a handful of available teachers who will probably have to give up planning time to keep tabs on the “protesters.”  I’m sure if a parent can help his or her kid write an email, ensuring student safety should continue to be a priority when they leave the safety of the school to make their point while they stare at their phones and take turns taking selfies and posting videos on Snapchat.

I believe school staff should do everything they can to prevent students from walking out.  They are in school to learn, that is their job as some have stated.  Unexcused absence; kick them off the sports teams and other extra activities.  Some posters say it’s their right to protest.  Riddle me this.  What happens when one of these kids gets hurt or killed while cutting class.  Most times they close down traffic by walking on public streets.  Who is liable then?  You know the parents would sue the pants off the school district.  Ironically, odds are a kid gets ran over by a news truck covering the event.  Keep them in the building.  If you want to support them then host a town hall meeting after classes at the school with students, parents, teachers, law enforcement, and other concerned parties.  Give them a safe environment to express their concerns.

Labeling everyone who disagrees with their position as either a “Trump supporter” or now, “NRA supporter”.  You do not know what you are talking about, Davis. I simply do not want my children walking out of school, because it is disruptive and will not do anything for “the cause”. 

Anyway, here is the letter LCPS sent to families a few moments ago:

To the LCPS community,

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is committed to providing a caring, safe and inclusive environment while respecting the rights of students to express varying perspectives without interfering with school safety or disrupting instruction. The tragedy in Broward County, Florida, on February 14, 2018, and other losses of life on school campuses across the nation over several years have driven increased interest in student-led civic engagement including school walkouts. Our goal in responding to walkout plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to focus on teaching and learning while maintaining student and staff safety.

We do not support walkouts or other activities that interrupt instruction, disrupt school, and/or cause a threat to safety. Students who leave class without permission, disrupt school activities, or otherwise disregard the code of conduct will receive the appropriate disciplinary action. Consequences for participating in these types of activities will depend on the context of the situation and the specifics of the student behavior. While students have the right to freedom of expression, they do not have the right to disrupt instruction or create an unsafe environment.

Please know that principals are collaborating with staff and students to provide opportunities for students to express diverse and opposing opinions in a manner that does not disrupt learning. Principals also are working with teachers and students to develop curriculum-related activities during the instructional day that allow for varying and opposing points of view.

The philosophy underlying our measured approach to student walkouts that disrupt student learning or safety is reflected in the LCPS Students Rights and Responsibilities (p. 13): “students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right. However, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas, or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference.”

Please contact your student’s school with any questions or concerns. By working together, LCPS and the community can maintain an inclusive, safe and supportive learning environment for each student.

Hypothetical question: can NRA supporters like cmchale, vasgp, jplegends, and john stoop any lower.  Notice that their goal here is to distract and prevent any meaningful conversation about long-term solutions to violence and killings.  They demean students and anyone younger than themselves.  Their comments belittle our youth who are taking a stand against what they see as inaction and distraction.  Instead of celebrating this movement, these NRA thugs attack students who could one day solve this any many other problems that these so-called adults simply deny.  Luck for the rest of us, these tactics and motives are quite visible.

And the NRA is a “right-wing radical group,” inciting violence itself with its claims of creeping socialism, etc.  (“The only way we stop we save our country is to fight these lies with the clenched fist of truth.”)  These kids are NOT “airheads,” they are (1) exercising their right as American citizens, and (2) asking for common-sense regulations on weapons of war that don’t belong in the hands of ordinary citizens.

I totally agree with cmchale and SGP- it is absolutely ridiculous not to treat any walkout as anything other than cutting school, an unexcused absence. Teachers are filling students’ heads with their own political beliefs, which need to stay out of the classroom. These kids that walk out just want a free pass so they don’t have to go to the next class. Like SGP says, if they truly care about the issue, they can surely do something (write letters to congress, call their congressional leaders) on their own time, but the chances of that happening are ZERO.

eventually a conservative (liberals won’t air it) outlet will interview some of these students about what they are protesting. Can’t wait to listen to their responses…will make for great late night tv humor…we are raising such airheads these days…

Some things to consider:

1. The #NationalWalkout info is hosted on the website of the radical left-wing Indivisible group.

2. These protests look to become a monthly feature at LCPS.  There is already another national walkout protest planned for April.

3. These students are unwilling to take time from their own personal time on Saturday or after school like every other protesting group does.  The principals have even been encouraged to provide time before school or during lunch for these kids to speak (see policy above).  But at the behest of their left-wing activist parents and teachers, they are pushing to walkout during class to create a disruption/scene to get more press.

For parents/students who have genuine concern about school shootings, understand that since 2000, a total of 130 persons (adults and students) have been killed in such shootings over 18 years.  That’s an average of 7.5/year out of 51M students at K-12 schools each year.  There are 100 other things to worry about before school shootings.  Thus, this protest is clearly just a broader political statement from the radical Left using kids to carry their water.

I don’t understand how this is not treated as any other forming of cutting class.  Athletes should be prevented from attending practice or whatever formal discipline the team/school has.  The absence should be recorded and reported just as a cut class.  They can protest on the weekend without disrupting the education of those that want to stay in class and learn. My guess is that the weekend would interrupt their social schedules so that may not have as many participants. 

We are essentially teaching kids that if you don’t like something at work, don’t go but hey you can expect to keep your job.  This is not based in reality. I recall the day without immigrants protests and how many workers were terminated as a result, that is the reality the kids need to understand. 

So students could hold a walkout ever school day. Learning has come a long way since I went to school.

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