This Friday, April 20, Waynesville High School students will lead an outdoor assembly in honor of lives lost in school violence, express their concerns about political legislative inactivity and focus on their ability as a student body to unite together for good.

This student demonstration is not about a singular issue, but rather that students care about the safety and health of everyone. It is taking place on April 20, 2018, on National Walkout Day, the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. WHS students will stand together, unified, in opposition to the violence and promoting that every student should feel safe at school. Attendance at the assembly is voluntary; it's not mandatory.

“This is completely student-led and I am proud of how our students have handled this,” said WHS Principal Courtney Long. “Students approached us after the events in Florida and were looking for a way to honor those affected by school violence, as well as find a way to have positive reaction and increase awareness within their student body. The students have worked with administrators so they can participate during Tiger Time and will therefore not miss any instructional time.”

Because of their direct work with teachers and administrators, students may voluntarily participate without repercussions. An alternative schedule for Friday has been shared with teachers. Instructions will be provided on Friday for students on where to report to participate or if they select not to participate.

“This has been an excellent civics lesson,” said Dr. Brian Henry, superintendent. “Our high school students have learned how to exercise their first amendment rights to peaceably assemble and how to do so appropriately. Our students have a desire to discuss the way that their generation can bring about positive change and an end to these tragedies.”

Students will be using the hashtag #WHSforSchoolSafety and uploading photos to social media to commemorate this day. #WHSforSchoolSafety embodies the idea that WHS students are advocates for school safety and will stand together.

“We encourage all students who wish to participate to follow the guidance of our teachers and administration as they stand with us in our goals and beliefs,” Long said.