MARQUETTE, MI-- Students and staff in the Marquette Area Public Schools district will take part in Wednesday’s 17-minute national school walkout.
The event was created, in part, to honor the 17 people killed at the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. MAPS Superintendent William Saunders says his administration has worked closely with students and staff to develop a structured mechanism to support their wishes.
“To make that 17 minutes do something, worth something, whether that be writing letters to the legislature, [etc.]. We’re trying to stay non-partisan, as well, to respect all students’ wishes and allow all students to participate as they see fit,” he says.
Saunders notes he doesn’t know if activities will include a true walkout.
He says since Parkland he’s spoken with several groups regarding school safety and what can be done to prevent shootings in the U.P. Discussions have centered on mental health and support mechanisms for students, as well as renewed vigilance in school buildings.
“We become creatures of habit,” he says. “We forget to lock doors; we forget to monitor entrances; we sometimes don’t question folks coming into the building, and just getting back to the basics. Making sure people are signing in, making sure we are keeping doors locked, students maybe not propping doors for other folks—just getting back to kind of a vigilance.”
Saunders says everyone needs to keep their eyes and ears open when it comes to school security.