YORKTOWN, N.Y. – When the clock strikes 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, thousands of students from around the nation are expected to get up from their desks and walk out of school for 17 minutes as part of a gun-control related protest and to honor the lives of those killed last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Most Yorktown High School students are not expected to partake in the protest, said Dr. Ron Hattar, superintendent of Yorktown schools. After meeting with student body leaders Monday morning, Hattar said, the students agreed to an alternative 15-20-minute student-led assembly to introduce a new program into the district called, “Stand up for Kindness,” which promotes “kindness, empathy and friendships.”
“In conversations with our students this morning, they said, ‘We don’t want to divide. We want to unite. By doing anything that resembles a walkout for this purpose, we’re dividing ourselves,’ ” Hattar said. “They just said, ‘No matter what your beliefs are, we can all stand behind kindness. We can all stand behind empathy. We can all stand behind friendship.’ That was their take on it. This came from our students.”
Because the district lost instruction time to the storms, Hattar said, the actual assembly will be brief. However, there will be areas in the high school where students can learn about the “Stand up for Kindness” program.
Though the students he met with “didn’t care to go outside,” Hattar said, he is still discouraging students from participating in the walkout from a “safety and security standpoint.”
“My concern is that people across the country know that at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, you can drive by many high schools and find students just outside,” he said.