Students across area plan to take part in national school walkout

Students in several schools and districts throughout the area plan to participate in a national school walkout Wednesday morning.

The National School Walkout is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in every time zone and last for 17 minutes -- a minute for each life lost in the Parkland school shooting.

Madison students are expected to meet at Madison East High School around 11 a.m. and start walking to the Capitol around noon, city officials said. 

Due to large crowds expected, multiple lanes of westbound East Washington Avenue will likely be closed between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., according to a release. 

Madison Metropolitan School District principals are working with student leaders in support of their plans, MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said in a release.

"Whether they organize an opportunity for students to voluntarily walk outside of the school building for those 17 minutes or participate in an event inside the school, please know these events will stay on school grounds and will be supervised by staff," Cheatham said.

Cheatham said they are aware of the march to the Capitol, and while they encourage students to stay in school, they know that some students may choose to participate in that event.

"Because this event is outside of school, students will not be supervised by school staff and we ask that you talk with your child about participating safely," Cheatham said. "We will follow our normal attendance policies, meaning that parents can excuse their child if they choose to."

For students who choose not to participate in either event, the school day will continue as normal, Cheatham said.

University of Wisconsin-Madison students are planning to stage at Library Mall and walk down State Street to meet the other students at the Capitol at noon, officials said. Traffic delays are expected on Gorham and West Johnson streets.

According to the release, the size of the crowd at the Capitol may necessitate closing the streets on the Capitol Square with roads reopening by 3 p.m.

Information on walkouts at other districts:

  • Baraboo
    • The district is not endorsing any walkouts, but they do understand that some students may determine to exercise their First Amendment rights in the form of a walkout.
    • In the event of a student-led walkout, schools and classes will continue on their normal schedule.
    • District officials are asking parents/guardians contact their school's attendance office to excuse their child from school if they plan on participating in the walkout.
  • DeForest
  • Middleton
    • Fireman's Park at 7400 Lee St. in Middleton at 10 a.m.
  • Milton
    • Milton High School students will walkout at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes
  • Mount Horeb
    • Student leaders in the Mount Horeb Area School District are collaborating with their fellow students, staff and parents in anticipation of Wednesday's school safety rally.
    • Parents who have a background check completed within the past year can sign in to the high school's front office no later than 9:45 a.m. to attend the event.
    • School officials believe this event is an extension of the school day.
    • Community members and other individuals wishing to observe and support students may do so by lining up along East Garfield Street.
  • Sun Prairie
    • Sun Prairie school officials said if a walkout does occur, the district's schools and classes will continue on their normal schedules for students who choose not to participate.
    • If a student participates, district officials are requesting that parents contact their school's attendance office to excuse their child from school.
  • Verona
    • Planned student walkout at 10 a.m. and lasting 17 minutes
    • VASD middle and high school students are expected to participate.
    • District officials say they support the good intentions behind the walkouts, but the district is not endorsing them.
    • If a walkout does occur, schools and classes will continue on their normal schedule.
    • District officials are asking parents to contact their school's attendance office to excuse their child from school.
    • Local law enforcement officers will have a presence in and around Verona school buildings Wednesday.

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