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3/10/2018 11:42:00 AM
Elkhart County walkouts planned to honor Florida school shooting victims
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Ben Mikesell, Goshen News

GOSHEN — Students at Goshen High School and other local school districts will be participating in the national walkout next week in memory of lives lost last month.

The National School Walkout has been scheduled for Wednesday at 10 a.m., and schools around the country are planning to participate in honor of the 17 victims of February's fatal school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Goshen High School Principal Barry Younghans said he will not discourage students from walking out of the school next Wednesday.

“This is 100 percent student led,” Younghans said. “I think there is something to be learned from civic engagement.”

A number of students have been working with administrators to make sure proper steps are followed to avoid any disruptions.

Though the National School Walkout is scheduled for 10 in the morning, Younghans said GHS students opted to wait a few minutes until their passing period is over in order to participate in the walkout. Students will then walk to the football field, where they will form a heart around the midfield logo and take a picture to use on social media. The students will honor the victims in Florida by standing on the field for 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost in the shooting.

“Talks have not been about gun control so much as honoring the victims,” Younghans added.

Younghans is prepared to have extra police patrol on hand Wednesday to ensure student safety during the demonstration.

“Our kids need to know they have a voice … They’re learning to be young adults, and whether we agree or disagree, they’re the future,” Younghans said.


Students at Elkhart Central High School, Northridge Middle School and Bethany Christian Schools are also planning to walk out of their schools next Wednesday, officials confirmed.

Tony England, assistant superintendent of student services at Elkhart Central, said the role of staff members will be to make sure students are safe during the walkout.

“We are letting them exercise their First Amendment rights,” England said. Like GHS, the Elkhart Central walkout will focus on honoring victims — not taking a stance on gun control, he added.

Bethany Christian Schools senior Elizabeth Eby is planning to walk out with her classmates Wednesday, and is also making arrangements with administration to participate in the march in Washington D.C. on March 24.

“Since we can’t vote, this is a way for our voices to be heard,” Eby said. Bethany Christian Schools officials will provide small buses to transport more than 30 students to the nation’s capital. The event coincides with a previously-planned senior trip, and the school is allowing the students to participate.

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