Fairbanks students need parents’ permission to participate in walkout, district says

Today, students organized across the country in solidarity with national high school walkouts expressing alarm over gun violence, including in Fairbanks. However, participating students didn’t have permission from the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District.

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“We have heard some of our students are organizing protests, (and) that they would be walking out of class at 1:30. That means they’ll be missing 45 minutes of classtime,” District spokeswoman Sharice Walker said.

Walker says student athletes would not only get dinged for 45 minutes of absence – they could also miss out on practice and games.

“They do need to be in attendance the full day on Friday to be eligible for practice and to participate in those activities over the weekend,” Walker said.

Walker says the district doesn’t have a policy on such events as the Walkout. And she says the district supports the students’ efforts to bring attention to issues they feel strongly about. She says students who want to participate in today’s walkout should get their parents to call in.

“Of course parents are welcomed to call and excuse those absences, if they so choose,” Walker said.

The Walkout was scheduled for today because April 20th is the 19th anniversary of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado, when two students killed 13 others before shooting themselves to death.

Local student organizers say the Walkout also is also being held in solidarity with ongoing efforts by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida to compel state and national leaders to enact legislation and policies to reduce gun violence.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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