Chico School District prepares for Wednesday student walkout to "Stand for Change"

Chico High senior Sophia Winter helped organize student walkout to honor Parkland shooting victims

Chico high school students plan to take part in Wednesday's demonstrations and moments of silence for the 17 lives lost in the recent Parkland, Florida shootings.

Beginning shortly before 10 a.m. students at Chico, Pleasant Valley and Inspire High Schools will leave class to gather for a 17-minute demonstration.

"We're hopefully creating an opinion for people's ideas and opinions on how we should go about changing this problem," said Chico High School senior Sophia Winter.

"We're sending a universal message that we want a change and don't want to wait until we're in the next school shooting," said Megan Maynard, a senior at Pleasant Valley High School.

The Chico Unified School District realizes the potentially political nature of these types of rallies and made it clear to faculty and staff to not participate.

"There are some pro-gun control, some not," said Jim Hanlon, assistant superintendent for the Chico Unified School District. "So we are very careful to stay out of the politics with that."

"This is a student-led discussion," added Kelly Staley, the CUSD superintendent. "This isn't a time for adults to politicize this, (but) for student engagement."

Given the time to get to and from the rallies and the 17-minute demonstration itself, one full period of class will be lost.

However, Staley sees an educational benefit.

"I think one of the best things we do is to prepare students to be active citizens in our society," said Staley. "And this is definitely giving them a civic voice."

Students who choose not to participate in the demonstrations will remain in their classrooms and be encouraged to get a head start on their homework.

There's concern that students will leave campus for a city-wide rally later in the morning. The district said those students would face disciplinary action.

"They would be assigned either detention or Saturday school according to the normal school rules," said Hanlon.

Chico police will have increased presence around campuses during the time the rallies are taking place.

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