Be­tween 5,000 and 10,000 peo­ple joined the largest protests yet against Kinder Mor­gan’s pipe­line con­struc­tion

StarMetro Vancouver - - News -

As schools around the coun­try brace for stu­dent walk­outs fol­low­ing the deadly shoot­ing in Park­land, Fla., prin­ci­pals and su­per­in­ten­dents are scram­bling to per­form a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act: How to let thou­sands of stu­dents ex­er­cise their First Amend­ment rights while not dis­rupt­ing school and not pulling ad­min­is­tra­tors into the rag­ing de­bate over gun con­trol.

Some have taken a hard line, promis­ing to sus­pend stu­dents who walk out, while oth­ers are us­ing a softer ap­proach, work­ing with stu­dents to set up places on cam­pus where they can re­mem­ber the vic­tims of the Flor- ida shoot­ing and ex­press their views about school safety and gun con­trol.

Since the Feb. 14 shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School, demon­stra­tions have sprung up on school cam­puses around the coun­try. But the first large-scale, co-or­di­nated na­tional demon­stra­tion is planned for Wed­nes­day when or­ga­niz­ers of the Women’s March have called for a 17-minute walk­out, one minute for each of the 17 stu­dents and staff killed in Florida.

Na­tional demon­stra­tions are also planned for March 24, with a march on Wash­ing­ton, D.C.; and on April 20, the 19th an­niver­sary of the Columbine High School mas­sacre in Colorado.

No mat­ter how schools de­cide to deal with the demon­stra­tions, stu­dents have been re­as­sured by Har­vard, Yale, MIT, the Univer­sity of Con­necti­cut, UCLA and dozens of other col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties that their par­tic­i­pa­tion won’t af­fect their chances of get­ting ad­mit­ted.

But for mid­dle-school and high-school ad­min­is­tra­tors, fig­ur­ing out how to al­low the demon­stra­tions dur­ing school hours has proven chal­leng­ing. In some cases, it hasn’t gone smoothly.

The su­per­in­ten­dents as­so­ci­a­tion — which is sup­port­ing the April 20 walk­out — has drafted a list of sug­ges­tions for school ad­min­is­tra­tors, in­clud­ing hold­ing a teach-in or a ses­sion on bul­ly­ing.

“I think we all re­al­ize that for folks who are teenagers right now, this could well be a defin­ing mo­ment in their lives. We want to very much en­cour­age and em­power stu­dent voices. That said, it has to be done in ways that are safe and ap­pro­pri­ate,’’ said spokesman Bob Mosier.

Craig F. Walker/the Bos­ton globe

Somerville High School ju­nior Me­gan Barnes marches with oth­ers dur­ing a stu­dent walk­out at the school in Somerville, Mass. last month. A large-scale, co-or­di­nated demon­stra­tion is planned for Wed­nes­day to protest gun vi­o­lence.

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