ALTON - Alton High School will have student participation on Wednesday in National Walkout Day in honor of those who lost their lives the in Parkland, Fla., tragedy. The walkout will take place from 10 to 10:17 a.m. during school.

Alton High School Michael Bellm said this to AHS students, parents and families:

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"The tragedy in Parkland, Florida, last month and other losses of life on school campuses across the nation have driven increased interest in student-led civic engagement efforts and actions, including the idea of school walk-outs. Alton High School supports students’ Constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free expression. Our goal in responding to walk-out plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to try and keep focus on teaching and learning while providing guidance and planning to support student and staff safety.

"On Tuesday, February 27, we invited students and staff to have a discussion on school safety. We also asked for their suggestions and ways we could make the school more safe. We had a very productive conversation about the current security parameters for our high school. Within the conversation, we identified items that have been put into place to increase the safety of our school as well as ideas to make our school more secure.

"The dialogue led to the student activism that is being expressed across the nation in relation to student and staff safety. Students expressed to us they would like the opportunity to engage in the national walk-out that is being held on March 14th from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. We responded to the students we would respect their right to join a peaceful walk-out that was planned, nationwide, and limited to a predetermined time limit.

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"At Alton High School, our top priority is to support the academic and social-emotional needs of our students while maintaining a safe and orderly environment for all. We will have administrators and members of our security team outside to supervise the students."

Principal Bellm informed parents/guardians, the time frame, 10 to 10:17 a.m. time frame will occur during the middle of our second hour. At this time, the principal said students will have two choices:

Students may participate in the walk-out by quietly exiting the building through either the front or auditorium doors. Teachers will remain in their classrooms and continue with their instruction as planned.

If students do not want to participate in the walk-out, they may remain in their class.

"We will expect students to choose one place or the other - classroom or outside," the principal said. "We will not allow students to remain in the hallways. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please call the Alton High School office at (618) 474-2700."

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