Durango High School students plan to hold a 17-minute walkout and school-approved event on Wednesday to honor the 17 people who died in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting on Feb. 14.
“It is not a political statement or event about gun violence or mental health. It’s simply a memorial for those who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting,” said Corbin Reiter, 17, a Durango High School senior and secretary-treasurer of Student Council.
The walkout, which Reiter said is optional for students, will occur during third period at 10 a.m. Students will gather on the high school football field.
Reiter expected between 50 and 100 students to attend. He also said some students could conduct their own walkout through the front of the school, a move that has been discouraged by 9-R administration because of safety concerns.
The event at the football field was originally planned for the lawn along Main Avenue, but Reiter said students agreed to move it to the football field because of safety concerns raised by DHS Principal Jon Hoerl.
District Superintendent Dan Snowberger and Hoerl have said they objected to a walkout through the front of the school, citing concerns about safety. A nationwide walkout by students has been widely publicized on social media, which gives anyone wishing to harm students the time, date and place of an assembly of a large group of students.
“We want staff, teachers’ and students’ voices to be heard. We want to respect their First Amendment rights to speak on this. We just want them to be safe,” Snowberger said.
The suspected perpetrator of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 19-year-old Nikolas Jacob Cruz, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Reiter said the DHS event is not sponsored by Student Council; it was organized by two students, Lana Razma and Carter Reiter, who is Corbin’s twin sister.
Corbin and Carter Reiter’s parents are Briggen Wrinkle and John Reiter.
The League of Woman Voters will be at the event to register students who are or will soon be 18 years old to vote.
A moment of silence will be held to honor those killed in Parkland. Also, letters that will be sent to the Colorado congressional delegation calling for measures to prevent school violence will be available for students to sign.
Student are also being encouraged to participate in another march happening from 1 to 3 p.m. March 24 from DHS to Rotary Park to call for measures to protect schools, Corbin Reiter said.