Prairie View students to walk out

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By Leo Wolfson

Prairie View High School students will walk out of school Tuesday, April 17 in remembrance of the 17 Parkland, Florida high schoolers killed in a February shooting.

 The walkout is part of the “What’s your 17” campaign being performed at schools nationwide, which is encouraging students to think of 17 acts they can do to promote compassion and kindness in their hallways. These acts can include complementing or talking to someone new, smiling at random people and being helpful to others.

 School District 27J staff says there needs to be changes made to the way society deals with mental health, and that kindness and positivity need to be better supported.

 “The purpose of the walkout is to turn attention to the fact that a conversation needs to be held in our society about reforming the current way we deal with mental health,” said Diego Rodriguez, president of the student body at Prairie View High School, in a video previewing the event. “We want students to show their support for the movement that has been going on all throughout America.”

Students at Overland Trail Middle School, 455 N. 19th Ave., Stuart Middle School, 15955 E. 101st Way in Commerce City, and Brighton High School, 270 S. Eighth Ave., held similar walkouts in March.

 Students will walk out of the school at 12909 E. 120th Ave. in Henderson during their eighth hour classes at 1:40 p.m. and head to the football stadium for a balloon ceremony and a moment of silence. At 2:15 p.m. students will head back to the school building for the completion of their school day.

During the balloon ceremony, student council members will release bundles of balloons when a name of a mass shooting is announced. The number of balloons released will be based on the number of casualties in that shooting. Students will also be encouraged to make signs encouraging kindness that they will hold during the filmed ceremony. 27J administration staff will be supervising the event.

“Please take this seriously. This is an issue on the hearts and minds of students and parents across the country and we want to endorse a solution rather than disrespect the problem,” said Rodriguez.

Students are not required to participate in the walkout and will be instructed to go to the small or large gymnasiums to resume their eighth period classes.

 For more information contact Tracy Rudnick, 27J public information officer, at 303-655-2905, or visit youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=60nPGR0QCEA to watch a video previewing the event.