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Waukesha School District won't participate in school walkouts next month

WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The Waukesha School District said they aren't joining a national walkout movement next month.

Students around the United States will stand up and walk out of class March 14 in response to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Waukesha was listed on the national organization's website as a walkout location, but the school's superintendent said they aren't involved in the movement.  Some students in Waukesha said they want to be part of the walkouts and are upset their district isn't behind them.

 “The talk around school is just 'what the heck?’” Waukesha North Junior Michael Geiger said.

Geiger wants to walk out of class next month for the lives lost in Florida.

 “We want to show that we're thankful for what we have and thankful for our lives,” Geiger said.

The Waukesha School District sent a letter to parents Tuesday stating, “Participation in a walkout is disruptive and against school regulations, and will subject students to disciplinary measures." 

Parent Kathie Giorgio has a student in Waukesha North and was upset with the school's response to the movement.

“I was totally surprised. I didn't think there would be any issue with the kids trying to do something like this,” Giorgio said.

However, Wednesday Superintendent Todd Gray addressed parents again saying, “We acknowledge that individuals have a right to demonstrate to support a cause. Therefore, if parents wish to excuse their children from school to attend such an event or demonstration, that is their right."

Giorgio thinks the district should join in the national walkout movement and hopes the school will work with students and parents.

“How can they get out there and bring change in so that they can walk through those doors in the morning and not be looking over their shoulders,” Giorgio said.

Giorgio is now planning an event Sunday at the Allwriters Workplace & Workshop to work with students and parents on a plan. As for some Waukesha students, Geiger said they plan on walking regardless.

“Some people are going to do it when the school says no because it's that respect. It could have been any of us,” Geiger said.

CBS 58 News has reached out to several school districts in the area. The Germantown School District Superintendent said:

As superintendent, I have a responsibility to ensure that the educational setting is not compromised while balancing the students' constitutional rights. With that in mind, Germantown School District officials, parents, and students are working together to find a solution specific to all of our needs in regard to assembly, expression, and reactions thereto. It is my hope that we are able to arrive at a mutually-beneficial solution that keeps the focus on the original and utmost priority associated with this matter - ensuring the safety and security of our children and staff in school settings that allows for unencumbered, worry-free learning and teaching. Because, in Germantown School District, we are all concerned and care.



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