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Local News

Local students planning school walkouts to protest mass shootings

Lincoln-Way Central on Friday, June 24, 2016, in New Lenox, Ill.
Lincoln-Way Central on Friday, June 24, 2016, in New Lenox, Ill.

Students at Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way East High Schools will be walking out of school for 17 minutes on Mar. 14 to protest mass shootings at schools nationwide.

The demonstration is a part of a national school walkout event called "Enough," in which students all over the county will be walking out of their classrooms from 10 a.m. until 10:17 a.m., one minute for each of the 17 victims of the mass shooting in Florida last month. The point of the walkouts is to pressure Congress to pass some sort of legislation to help prevent mass shootings.

Lincoln-Way Community High School District spokeswoman Taryn Atwell said she couldn't confirm whether there would also be a walkout at Lincoln-Way West, but the protests were being coordinated with school administrators. She said students have taken the initiative in planning the events.

Atwell added that teachers will not be taking part, but the school will be allowing the protests because they should not be a major disruption to the school day.

"We're allowing them to use their freedom of speech and do what they feel like they need to do," she said.

At least one local political group is organizing a rally in support of the walkouts. The Southwest Suburban Activists created an event on Facebook to spread information about the event.

"We need more than thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods," the event page read. "We need action."

In the time since the Florida mass shooting, there have been a number of incidents both nationwide and locally involving threats of gun violence at schools. Minooka police were alerted to an online threat toward Minooka Junior High School on Feb. 22. A Minooka Community High School student was arrested after posting threats on social media on Monday. On Tuesday, a Plainfield High School student was arrested for threatening to shoot his former girlfriend.

Then on Friday, the suspect in a double fatal shooting at Central Michigan University was identified as having gone to Plainfield schools.

According to the Action Network website, there will also be walkouts at Bolingbrook High School and Lakeview Junior High School in Plainfield.

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