Howard County students are joining others from across the country who are organizing to demand stronger gun control laws in the aftermath of this month’s Florida school massacre.
Anna Selbrede, a River High High School senior who is the student representative on the county’s school board, has been reaching out to student government groups to learn about their plans.
River Hill, in Clarksville, is planning a walk out, as is Centennial High School in Ellicott City, which she said is expected to join in a national walkout planned for March 14.
The 57,000-student school system has circulated a “guidance for walkouts” document to administrators that, among other things, urges them to “de-emphasize the rebellious nature of students’ actions by acknowledging that our school is understanding of this initiative and students will not be given consequences for participating unless they violate other school rules.”
Selbrede, 18, said she believes students should be allowed to participate, and that she encouraged student groups to work in collaboration with their school administrations.
While Selbrede said she had yet to discuss the issue with other members of the elected school board, she said the board may discuss the possibility of releasing a statement in solidarity with students who take action.
“I wholeheartedly believe in the right for students to feel safe in school, and I as an individual believe that stricter gun control is necessary to address the safety issues that are happening in schools nationwide,” she wrote in a statement.
Howard County schools have a plan underway to assess school security.
This is not the first time Howard County students have participated in high profile walkouts. In 2016 students at Oakland Mills High School and Mount Hebron High School held walkouts in response to what were described as racist incidents in school and on social media.
A spokesman for county schools, Brian Bassett, said each school could decide how to handle student responses.
“It would be irresponsible to treat our students and the school atmosphere as though something didn't happen that students are struggling with,” Bassett said in a statement. “Instead, it's incumbent upon us to create an environment that is safe and educational where students can lift their voices in response to the tragic event.”