High schools in Niagara County prepare for student demonstration
High school students across Western New York are expected to demonstrate Wednesday to call on Congress to pass tighter gun laws. Students will be participating in the ENOUGH National School Walkout to honor those killed last month in the Parkland, Florida school shootings. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley talked to educators in Niagara County about how local students will participate.
"We've done some legwork in advance with students. Those who wish to participate have signed up,” said Carrie Buckman, team administrator at Niagara Falls High School.
Niagara Falls city high school students will participate in the nation-wide demonstration to acknowledge the lives lost in the Florida school shooting.
Buckman tells WBFO News students have been very thoughtful and respectful in their plans to participate.
“We want them to be able to express themselves and share messages that they would like to share,” Buckman noted.
The National walkout will begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday. It will last 17- minutes, one minute to honor each of the Parkland victims. The Falls High school students will be allowed to step out of their building, but to a front entrance area, weather permitting.
“Our lead principal, Mr. Bradley, will come on to the loud speaker and announced that those who wish to participate may leave class and join together outside on our front walk,” Buckman explained.
Falls city students who do not wish to participate will be supervised. Local law enforcement will be in attendance. “Students will be well supervised and we will have law enforcement with us that day," Buckman remarked.
At the Lewiston-Porter High School, the event is being called a "walk-in". Students who want to participate in the event are allowed to leave their classrooms and head directly to the school auditorium.
“We’ve created forum in the high school auditorium. A: because of the weather, B: because of the fact that we also want to keep them safe,” said Paul Casseri, schools superintendent in the Lewiston-Porter Central School District.
Lew-Port students will also be allowed to hold speeches and carry signs.
“Will you have police in place for the demonstration?” asked Buckley. “We will,” answered Casseri. “I would like to say we’re one of the safest school campuses in the country in that the Lewiston Police Department moved out of the village of Lewiston and actually rented out our old district offices and turned them into our headquarters. On top of we do also employee on a daily basis – we have two armed officers that patrol our campus. Their actually off-duty Lewiston Police officers that we hired as district employees.”
Lewiston-Porter and Niagara Falls city schools leaders emphasized the importance of giving students their right to 'free speech' and to raise their voices to keep schools safe.