Schools in Denver metro area brace for walkouts

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- Schoolchildren nationwide will walk out of classes on Wednesday to call attention to gun violence in the United States.

School districts in the Denver metro area are bracing for the event. The walkouts come a month after the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“It’s just not OK anymore,” a Golden High School senior said. “We need to do something about it, and if the adults aren’t going to take action, we are.”

Scores of students from coast to coast have told media outlets they’re committed to the walkout. Others said they plan to stay in class.

“I think that one person, individually, won’t be able to do much,” a high school student in Jefferson County said. “I’d rather do makeup work during the time.”

Jefferson County Schools, Colorado’s second-largest district, has echoed what other districts have said, saying children will not be disciplined as long as they communicate with administrators, stay respectful and come back to class after an allotted amount of time.

“If they were unruly or disrespectful, there’s going to be some repercussions,” Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman Diana Wilson said.

Elementary school students will not be allowed to leave school without a parent, according to Wilson.

Schools across the metro area have heard from parents and community members whose opinions span the spectrum -- from telling kids to stay in class to fully supporting what has been called a lesson in civic engagement.

Wilson said security officers will be on site across the district and administrators will be working closely with law enforcement.

Students will be given 17 minutes for a walkout at some schools. Wilson said students in Jefferson County could stay out of class longer and not be disciplined if a parent excuses their absence.