National School Walkout set for Friday at 10 am

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- - Students in schools around the Tri-Cities plan to walk out of class Friday morning.

It's the latest organized event with students calling for tougher gun laws.

The walkout falls on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine Massacre.

Audrey Kallus, a senior at Science Hill High School, said she will be one of the many students across the nation who will participate in the walkout Friday.

For school administrators around the Tri-Cities, the question is how to respond.

At University School in Johnson City, Director Dr. Troy Knetchel said his students won't be punished for participating in the National School Walkout Friday.

"I think it's great that they have the opportunity to voice their opinion and to be able to be heard, it's part of being in America," Knetchel said.

That's not the response Kurt Fagerburg wanted to hear. He has two students at University School and doesn't agree with the director's support of the student walkout.

"I feel like it sends the wrong message to students, that it's okay to break the rules as long as you have a good enough reason," Fagerburg said.

Fagerburg said he found out it's not just at his kids' school.

In February, a guide of student walkouts was sent out to every school system in Tennessee by the Tennessee Department of Education.

In the letter, Commissioner Candice McQueen said "Students should not be disciplined for peaceful participating in a walkout."

"I don't fault him for it, he's just following orders," Fagerburg said. "It's really unfortunate that these orders were issued by the state."

Dr. Knetchel said he's hoping for a positive event.

Tennessee Rep. Micah Van Huss released a statement in response to University School's plan.

"The State Dept of Education and administration of University School needs to lead instead of pandering to the students and to the liberal left. The fact that high school kids are allowed to walk out of class without consequence is irresponsible.  They have their own time with which to protest our God-given rights. The fact that the University School administration is using taxpayer resources to encourage this should be illegal, and should the people of District 6 send me back to Nashville, I will propose Tennessee does just that."


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