Despite the threat of disciplinary action from administrators, students at Council Rock North High School took part in the National School Walkout Wednesday morning.
Students at the high school in Newtown Township marched from inside the school to outside to remember the 17 students and staff members killed last month in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, according to parents and a student. They added that the administration had attempted to keep students inside the school in advance of the walkout.
In a letter to parents earlier in the week, Superintendent Dr. Robert Fraser wrote that students who walked out of school would receive “disciplinary action.” However, the superintendent and the school board agreed to waive any disciplinary actions for students following Wednesday’s walkouts that took place at both the high schools and, to a lesser extend, the middle schools.
“I am incredibly proud of our students,” Fraser said in an afternoon note to students.
“At every school in the district, the event was kept 100% non-political. While many people over the past two weeks have said this walkout would be inherently political, our students showed tremendous maturity by focusing exclusively on the 17 victims. I was with the group outside at CRN, and a short bio was read once a minute for each of the 17 victims, and I’m telling you that you could have heard a pin drop,” he added.
Fraser explained that the district administration appealed to the school board that “no disciplinary action is warranted in this extremely unusual situation.” The majority of the school board agreed.
The district explained that they asked students to stay inside the schools instead of marching outside due to safety concerns and rumors that non-students would attempt to get in the schools.
“After seeing just how incredibly well our students handled today’s remembrance events, we feel that no discipline is warranted. This decision in no way should be viewed as precedent setting for any future event,” Fraser said.
Council Rock spokesperson Susan O’Grady put out a statement following a news article that stated tables were set up in front of doors at the high school and stopped students from leaving the high school was not true.
“Tables, which were fully manned and could be separated at any time, were utilized in an area known to experience minimal student foot traffic at event time. They were set up in that area to take attendance of students who opted to go outside upon their re-entry to the building,” O’Grady said.
The district official added that students were able to exit the building unobstructed and students exited and returned to the high school in an orderly manner.