Valley schools honor Parkland shooting victims, protest for gun - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Valley schools honor Parkland shooting victims, protest for gun control

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As students around the nation take part in a day of rallies, walkouts and protests to showcase solidarity after a deadly school shooting in Florida, schools around the Valley held events meant to memorialize, honor, educate or protest. 

It's been one month since Nikolas Cruz was arrested outside of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Investigators say Cruz entered the school and opened fire, leaving 17 people dead. 

In the days immediately following the shooting, high school students across the nation staged protests, calling for gun reform and an increased awareness of school safety issues. 

Here in the Valley, schools took different approaches to the day. 

The majority of schools felt it was safer for students to stay inside, rather than exiting the school at a well-publicized time. 

Schools like Liberty took the occasion to light candles, remembering the 17 people who were killed at Stoneman Douglas. 

Others like Austintown held presentations on school safety, complete with presentations by local law enforcement on what is expected of students during an active shooter situation. 

Students in other schools took the opportunity to practice their civic responsibilities. 

In Crestview High School, the upperclassmen were presented with information on how to register to vote in elections. The student leadership also put together time for the teens to discuss hot-button issues, such as mental health advocacy, gun control and more. 

Meanwhile, students in Lordstown tried to accomplish a dual task: honoring the Parkland students and speaking out on political issues. 

Students organized a memorial by the school rock, which was painted orange for solidarity with Stoneman students. 

However, they also took the opportunity to write letters to Attorney General Mike DeWine and other lawmakers regarding policy issues. Students will now take those letters and hand deliver them to Columbus. 

A select group of students, those who belong to Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, organized walkouts at three high schools in the Youngstown City School District. 

At Chaney, students got the chance to talk to gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Joe Schiavoni. At East, Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown addressed a crowd of students. 

Boardman students took still a different approach, hosting a "Clap-Out" in which safety forces paraded through the school as students applauded and showed thanks. 

In addition, upperclassmen were also given the opportunity to register to vote. 

Across the state line, Pennsylvania schools also joined in. 

Sharon, one of the largest schools in Mercer County, says they purposefully tried to take the politics out of the day. Students were on an "assembly" schedule, which means that all classes will be attended. At 1:45 p.m. students will be able to split off and take part in a march and assembly. 

However, the school principal says that the events aren't a political commentary on Parkland. Rather, the principal says they're taking the time to hear from students about their safety concerns.

Those comments and concerns will then be presented to the Board of Education in which the school district can determine if there are any new approaches they can look into for school security. 

Some schools, like Canfield, did not permit students to partake in protests. 

However schools chose to recognize — or not recognize — the events of the day, they still inspired backlash. 

Canfield and Campbell School brought in additional security after fears were raised by the possibility of taking place in a publicized event. 

In Sharon, an angered parent showed up to express his outrage, saying that no matter what, by choosing to hold the event on this day, the school was making it political. 

In Canfield, two adults held signs outside of the school, protesting the choice to not allow students to protest. 

Across the 21 News social media platforms reactions have ranged from those who expressed that any student who took place in a protest should be expelled, and similarly teachers fired, to those who expressed solitude with the students who have taken the time to join in the civic process. 

Our 21 News Drone, powered by 680 Aerials, took to the skies to get a glimpse of the walkout at Chaney High School. That video can be seen above. 

Meanwhile, a slideshow of pictures from several events around the Valley can be found below.

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