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PARIS — On March 14, at 10 a.m., Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School will be hosting a school walkout to promote school safety.

The walkout will last for 17 minutes – one minute for each of the lives lost at the recent Parkland school shooting. Students and staff are invited to walk out of classes and gather within the bus loop outside of the school. Students will not be punished for participating in the walkout.

Community members are invited to support our walkout. For safety reasons, the public will have to stay outside of school grounds – outside of the fence bordering the school lawn across from Olympia Sports and Rite Aid. However, the community’s support is still very valuable, as school safety is a nationwide concern.

After the walkout, there will be a panel held inside of OHCHS. This is an opportunity for students to ask questions and voice their concerns to administration and first-responders within our community. This panel will be held in the forum and will run through all three lunch periods.

The goal of this walkout is to promote school safety while also honoring the victims of school violence – especially those in the recent Parkland shooting. Our schools should be safe for students to learn and grow – not a place for violence to occur.

OHCHS Principal Ted Moccia says he fully supports the students’ plan and has set up perimeters to ensure their safety.

“Viking Way will be closed and there will be a police presences,” he says, “as my number one issue is to make sure our kids are safe.”

Moccia stressed that this is not a public event and while support from the community is welcome, they must stay off school grounds to ensure the safety of the students.

Moccia says the district has decided to take the event and turn it into an education event by offering a panel to answer student questions and address their concerns. Panelists will include: Moccia, Superintendent of Schools Rick Colpitts, Assistant Superintendent Pat Harnet, OHCHS Guidance Director Nancy McClean-Morrissette, School Resource Officer Tim Holland, Paris Police Chief Hartley Mowatt and John Springer. Moccia said all local police chiefs have been invited as well.

“I think this is a great advertisement for school safety and remembering the 17 students who died in Florida,” Moccia adds.