SM North students planning walkout Friday to recognize victims of Parkland shooting

Shawnee Mission West students aren’t the only ones in the district organizing a demonstration as part of the National School Walkout movement on Friday.

Shawnee Mission North administrators sent a message to parents Monday afternoon alerting them to a planned walkout at 10:05 a.m. Friday. The walkouts are set for April 20 because it is the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

Principal Dave Tappan alerted parents that students are planning to head to the stadium to hold a short program and 17 minutes of silence, one for each victim of the Parkland, Fla., shooting in February.

Tappan noted that students had agreed to hold the walk out during the planned activity period for the day “which will allow us to minimize the loss of instructional time.” He said students intended to use the event to show a support for safe schools, show a sign of “solidarity and peace,” and provide each other with a platform for sharing ideas about how students and staff can feel safer at schools.

“This event is not endorsed by the school or staff; however, we are proud of the way the students approached us with their idea,” Tappan wrote. “They were willing to work with us to make plans together, so that class time was not interrupted. Therefore, the administration would like to support them.”

After the demonstration concludes, students will reenter the building through the main doors “to emphasize the importance of students following school safety guidelines.”

Shawnee Mission installed secure building entries with identity checkpoints in 2015 that were paid for by proceeds from the $233 million bond issue district voters approved that year. The security upgrades cost approximately $20 million.

SM West students announced plans earlier this month to hold a similar walkout event April 20.