Hundreds of students walk out at schools across southwest Ohio, Statehouse

Thousands of students across the nation walked out of class today to draw attention to school safety, gun control, and the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Scheduled around 10 a.m. at schools across America, the events vary widely locally depending on school districts and individual schools, with almost all events lasting less than a half hour. Some involve short ceremonies inside of schools while others include students stepping outside.

This newsroom has crews at schools across the region. Here’s the latest:


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» ACLU warns Ohio schools: We’re watching how you handle student protests

UPDATE @ 3:50 p.m.

More than 200 students from dozens of high schools across the state met with state lawmakers and held press conferences, seeking solutions to gun violence and school shootings.

One group advocated for fewer police in schools, saying students need more nurses, counselors and social workers – not armed officers.

Another group, which included Oakwood High School students, rallied for gun restrictions such as improved background checks and bans on bump stocks and assault weapons.

“I think that arming teachers is a disastrous idea,” said Allison Singleton, a senior at Walnut Hills HS in Cincinnati. Schools should be safe places for learning. “Arming teachers would totally destroy that.”

Oakwood HS senior Sara Laatz said they were there to remind lawmakers that they are future voters and make them aware that they’d be held accountable for their positions.

UPDATE @ 3:10 p.m.

Dayton Public Schools spokeswoman Marsha Bonhart said several hundred students participated in a walkout at Stivers School for the Arts.

"It was, considering the circumstances, very emotional," Bonhart said.

Other high schools in the district had events held inside events with members of the Dayton Police Department, she said.

UPDATE @ 2:15 p.m.

Stebbins High School students participated in "sit-ins" today during student advisory periods, said Mad River Local Schools Superintendent Chad Wyen.

“Our high school principal, Tina Simpson, facilitated the conversation during the sit-ins which revolved around school safety,” he said.

UPDATE @ 1:45 p.m.

One-hundred students at Tippecanoe High School and 75 students at Tippecanoe Middle School participated in walkouts today, said Superintendent Gretta Kumpf.

“The board policy allows students to assemble peaceably and to express ideas and opinions so long as the exercise does not infringe on the rights of others and does not interfere with school operations,” Kumpf said.

“Students who participated in today’s walkout were respectful of the observation and conducted themselves in a peaceful manner. There will be no consequences for these students who stayed on school property and returned to class at the conclusion of today’s event,” she said.

UPDATE @ 1:20 p.m.

Centerville City Schools Superintendent Tom Henderson said about 400 of the high school's 2,800 students participated in a walk out on school grounds.

Another 20 students, he said, also demonstrated with signs in support of the National Rifle Association.

All the demonstrating students, he said, signed a banner for the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“While the speeches were going on, these 20 students with a slightly different view listened and were respectful,” Henderson said. “The other thing I thought was neat was, at the end, they went up to the student leaders who organized the event and asked if they could sign the banner too.”

Although a letter to students from school principal John Carroll said unexecused absences would be counted for participating students, Henderson on Wednesday told this news organization there would be no school-issued consequences for students who participated.

UPDATE @ 12:30 p.m.

Bellbrook High School principal Chris Baker said students at the school did an "outstanding job" organizing an optional assembly for students today.

The students held a moment of silence for the victims in Parlkand, he said.

“Our student resource officer spoke with the kids about school safety as part of the program we had today,” Baker said.

UPDATE @ 12:15 p.m.

Most of the 350 students at Yellow Springs High School participated in a walkout today, said Superintendent Mario Basora.

Basora said he was proud of students for getting involved, no matter the side they take in the national debate.

"I believe this is a great learning opportunity for our students and a great opportunity for them to express their feelings and their thoughts about gun violence and do it in a way that's productive and can engage in public discourse around this issue," he said. "We couldn't be more proud of our kids for their advocacy, for their civic engagement in the democratic process."

UPDATE @ 11:20 a.m.

Several hundred students at Centerville High School walked out this morning, according to social media from students.

About 10 other students counter-protested, said Nikita Sandella, a senior who raised money for the Parkland victims and their families.

School administrators did not allow media to access the school facilities. The walkout occurred in the stadium.

Students signed a poster reading “Elks stand with Stoneman Douglas.”

John Carroll, the principal, referred questions to Superintendent Thomas Henderson, who did not immediately return a request for comment.

UPDATE @  11:06 a.m. 

Students and staff at Wayne High School in Huber Heights wore the school colors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School today, a district spokesman said.

“Wayne will also have a moment of silence for the mass shooting victims at their pep assembly today,” said Zack Frink, the spokesman. “Prior to today, Wayne’s student council led the way in having students sign and then sending a poster to Marjory Stoneman.”

UPDATE @ 10:50 a.m.

Several students at Lebanon High School walked out of class this morning "to honor the victims in the Parkland, Fla. shooting and to plea for safer schools," said Superintendent Todd Yohey.

The superintendent said there were no issues and that local law enforcement were on hand to secure the school grounds.

“Our community should be very proud of its high school students today,” Yohey said. “For those that think teenagers don’t get it or don’t have a right to try and change their world, let today serve as evidence that you are wrong. It is a great day to be a Lebanon Warrior.”

UPDATE @ 10:44 a.m.

A walkout at Kettering Fairmont High School lasted seven minutes and attracted a few hundred students.

Organizers read the names of the 17 Florida school shooting victims who were killed. Fairmont students also rang the school's spirit bell 17 times.

“I feel that school violence is not OK and that there shouldn’t be school shootings,” said Melinda Gnau, a sophomore. “These victims didn’t deserve it, and they had a future, and it was stopped because of a gun.”

» Emails show local schools wrestling with student protests after Florida shooting

Other students said it was important for them that the event be a remembrance of the Florida victims without political views.

Students "wanted to make sure it wasn't about politics," said Fairmont senior Preston Collins, 18.

"It's important because we all come together as one to support people who lost their lives," senior Cayla Teeters, 17.

UPDATE @ 10:38 a.m.

Between 25 and 50 students walked out of classes at Springfield High School today.

Springfield High is holding moments of silence throughout the day to honor the students of the Parkland, Fla., shooting and asked students not to walk out as part of a national movement today.

Students there could face punishment for walking out, district leaders said.

UPDATE @ 10:25 a.m.

About 10 students walked out of classes this morning at West Liberty-Salem High School as part of a national effort to support the victims of a Florida school shooting and push for reforms.

A small group of residents supporting the students also lined the street across from the high school, holding signs and cheering for the students when they walked out of the building.

» Shooting victim discourages walkout participation

West Liberty-Salem was the site of a school shooting on Jan. 20, 2017. Two students were shot, one seriously injured.

Students who walk out will face consequences, West Liberty Superintendent Kraig Hissong and several other Clark and Champaign County school leaders said.

Logan Cole, the victim of the West Liberty-Salem High School shooting last year, took to social media to speak out against the demonstrations. Instead, he’ll lead a memorial service during lunch and homeroom.

UPDATE @ 10:11 a.m.

Several hundred Oakwood High School students have walked out of school, according to reporters on scene.

One student there said he plans on attending the march later today at the Ohio Statehouse.

UPDATE @ 10 a.m.

Students are walking out at Fairmont High School in Kettering, according to a reporter on scene.

“We will have a student led remembrance to honor the victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from 10:00-10:17,” principal Tyler Alexander told this newsroom yesterday. “Students who choose not to participate in the event will be in class with teachers, just like a normal day.”

UPDATE @ 9:30 a.m.

More than 500 students participated in Springboro schools at the high school and junior high.

Students Riley Weisman and Ella Bowman are to speak on “making a change” and school safety, according to student Suhavi Salmon.

There will be time for prayer and mourning, student leaders said. Then, a 17-second moment of silence will be held.

The event is expected to end with a balloon launch to honor the 17 victims of the Parkland school shooting.

Read more coverage of school safety issues:

» Fairborn police: Schools won’t release records about arrested 12-year-old

» After school threats, Dayton-area children face next step: Court

» Hundreds of local students walk out, more planned

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