By David Meade
Anderson School District One officials are working with some students to allow them an opportunity to honor students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland , Florida and to talk about school safety.
The activity is being held in conjunction with a National School Walkout event planned for next Wednesday.
The National School Walkout is being organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, a liberal protest group, calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a national school walkout for 17 minutes at 10 am on March 14.
While the national walkout day protest is about gun control, Anderson School District One Superintendent David Havird said District One students want to honor those seventeen in Florida and talk about safety in their schools.
Havird said students in Florida joined with the Women’s March and some District One students reached out to school officials regarding the National School Walkout Day.
Havird said District One students will be allowed to do something and in talking with the students, the district tried to communicate it as an assignment or goal, to express themselves and insure that it not be disruptive.
According to Havird, one student who is helping coordinate an event in one District One high school, has a direct connection with the school in Florida.
“They want to read names and say something,” Havird said. “They want to talk about things they can do. We will listen to them and what they want to do. It is a very sincere effort to honor those victims in Florida.”
Havird said he met with some student leaders Monday who had expressed an interest in doing something to honor the 17 who lost their lives in the recent Florida school shooting incident.
Though still in the planning stages, Havird said the students have also talked with principals about what they would like to do.
Havird said the school auditoriums are available or they can go outside.
“Our goal is to have a plan in place, and to talk and to listen, to make sure a proper balance is there for students to express concerns and ensure safety and order in the schools.”
“We support students rights to express themselves. Participation of students is a benefit and part of being a participant in a democracy,” Havird said.
Havird said the district administration wants to hear any ideas or suggestions students may have about safety in the schools.
“They (the students) are concerned with safety also,” Havird said.
Havird said if students do want to do something, an organized activity “will be allowed, within the school environment.”
He said some students have already talked with their principals about wanting to do something.
Havird said over the last few weeks he has had a number of parents and students concerned with school safety.
In response, Havird said this week the district produced a video to help communicate to parents what the District has done in regards to safety and security.
“Our goal is to have a full time resource officer in each of our schools,” Havird said. “We need to add four, which will go from ten to fourteen.”
“We want to have one full time officer per school. A visible presence of a trained, armed resource officer is important,” the Superintendent reiterated.
“We will have a plan in place,” Havird said. “We think it is important to honor and share the voices, while also providing safety and order in the school. We certainly don’t mind listening and them weighing in and hearing their voices.”
“We provide an outlet for students to express safety concern.”
District One has received some media attention across the Upstate as the result of both Powdersville and Wren High Schools being listed on the National School Walkout registration site. Woodmont High School in Greenville County is also on the site.
Powdersville High was mentioned on a local radio talk show resulting in a post on the school Instagram
According to a post, a student registered the school on the Action Network website and the school aministration had nothing to do with it.
The national walkout is being organized through an online platform called The Action Network. According to its website, The Action Network is an open platform that empowers individuals or groups to organize for progressive causes.
Organizers of the national event are calling on congress to enact federal gun reform legislation to address gun violence.
According to information on the online registration page for the National School Walkout, the event “is to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools . . .”