COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - Students across the country are expected to walk out of their classrooms Wednesday morning in a mass show of support.
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, Florida school shooting. The event aims to honor the victims and to protest against gun violence.
"This is our right as students and I feel like if you want to have your voices heard, you have to stand up and speak about it," said Anthony Pacheco, executive vice president of the Cathedral City High School associated student body.
Pacheco and other leaders in the student body planned to have kids walk iout of their classrooms, but say on campus, meeting at the Senior Stage where 17 empty desks will be on display. Students are encouraged to wear orange and one balloon will be released every minute for the 17-minute duration of the protest.
"We stand with them and in support of them and what they're doing over there," said Camile Leal, a student at CCHS.
Parents are split on the idea.
"I think it's well-needed and I think it should have happened a long time ago," said Walter Menini, a father of four.
"It's pretty crazy. I'm against that," said Geno Weaver, also a father of four. "It's all on the parents.They should make the kids go to school."
The protests are being organized by students, not the schools. All three Coachella Valley school districts told KESQ & CBS Local 2 that they have connected with student leaders to promote a peaceful and respectful protest and to try and keep kids on campus.
The movements will vary at each school.
- La Quinta High School: students will assemble at the basketball courts near the football field and walk a lap around the track. After that, 17 minutes of silence will be observed.
- Indio High School: The walkout for IHS will be a noontime rally on the quad. There will be 17 seconds of silence with 17 balloons released in commemoration for those who died in the recent school shooting in Florida. Student speakers will address their peers and staff. A suggestion has been made to students to wear a white t-shirt.
- Palm Desert High School: 17 empty desks will be placed in the quad at the center of campus. The desks will remain there throughout the day. The president of the school's ASB organization (student government) will read the names of the 17 victims of the recent school shooting in Florida, requesting a minute of silence between each name. Students have arranged for voter registration to take place on campus during lunch in an effort to encourage their peers to use their voice at the polls.
- Shadow Hill High School: Students will silently walk to the outdoor basketball courts. Three students speeches will be delivered as the victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting are honored and recognized.
- Summit High School & Horizon School: Students will assemble at the soccer field. The names of the 17 victims of Parkland, Florida will be read and 17 balloons will be released in their honor followed by a moment of silence.
- Cathedral City High School: 17 Empty desks will be placed on a platform, and a balloon will be released every 17 minutes.
- Coachella Valley High School: Students will participate in the protest against gun violence through a Remembrance Walk for 17 minutes around the Football Field. This will be in memory of the 17 victims from the Florida incident. School administration met with the ASB student leadership group to get ideas that would promote a peaceful and respectful protest making sure it would not disrupt a “safe and orderly educational environment.” The ASB leadership came up with the idea of a Remembrance Walk to the football field while leaving 17 white flowers for the victims of the Florida incident. Student members of the SAGA Club will provide a brief speech about the 17 victims. Teachers and school administration will participate in support of the students’ Remembrance Walk.