Sit-In allows students to ask questions, discuss safety with lawmakers

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - From Maine to Hawaii, and even in Georgia, thousands of students plan to stage walkouts today to protest gun violence.

In Muscogee County, the school district will allow students to express their opinions through an alternative event; one that will keep them in school but connected to their peers across Columbus.

School district leaders are hosting select students from every public middle and high school in the county, and a delegation of Georgia state representatives. The two groups will talk about what they feel needs to be done to address school safety and the threat of gun violence.

The plan for "Speak Up! Sit In," according to district officials, is to allow student delegates the opportunity to ask questions - submitted by their peers - and hear what state legislators have to say about possible solutions.

The "sit in" will include those students unable to attend the conference at the Public Education Building. Officials said the discussion will be live streamed into school classrooms starting at 9 a.m.

The general public - parents, guardians, and other citizens - can also watch the discussion's live stream through the school district's own Facebook page.

"Speak Up! Sit In" is the only activity approved by Muscogee County School District for March 14. In a written statement, superintendent David Lewis has stressed the "safety concern" in letting students walk out of class. Students that participate in any other demonstration will face disciplinary action from the school district.

The National School Walkout comes one month to the day, that 17 people were killed in the Parkland, Florida high school shooting.

This demonstration is set for 10 a.m. local time and will last 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed.

Parents with kids in district schools had the chance to inform schools they did not want them participating in this sit in.

Students will also have an opportunity to write letters of support to students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School; the district plans to send those letters to South Florida once the day's activities are complete.

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