VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia Beach City Public Schools is allowing students to participate in a walkout Friday at 10 a.m. but are expecting students to return to class, or face the consequences if they fail to do so.
With a variety of student groups across the nation planning a walkout in commemoration of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Virginia Beach City Public Schools sent an email to parents assuring them that they expect students to return to class after a 30-minute walkout period.
VBCPS said that as a reminder, leaving the school campus without following proper early dismissal procedures is a violation of School Board Regulation 5-63.1, which will result in disciplinary action.
The 1999 Columbine High School shooting left 12 students and one teacher dead after senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried out the attack with high powered guns, as well as explosives, before committing suicide.
A similar walkout in March, in the wake of the Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had students returning to class. But according to VBCPS, organizers of this walkout have promoted the detail of students not returning to class after leaving.
VBCPS says that students who participate can make up assignments missed during the allowed 30-minute walkout, but for students who do not return, the district says that they will marked with an unexcused absence.
The district says it, “understands that some families view this as an opportunity for their children to honor victims of school violence and to once again engage in civil discourse. Therefore, VBCPS staff will neither encourage nor discourage students from taking part in a walkout, or, as the principal of Columbine High School suggests, honoring victims by taking part in community service. We simply ask that you take all of this information into consideration when discussing these events with your children.”