What you need to know about the national school walkout Wednesday

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Students join in chants admonishing gun violence and the NRA
Students join in chants admonishing gun violence and the NRA on the steps of the State Capitol in St. Paul on March 7, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Students and teachers are expected walk out of their schools and universities this Wednesday as part of a coordinated national demonstration in support of tougher gun-control laws.

Seventeen students and staff members were shot and killed Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Since then, students across the country have led a number of demonstrations and marches in support of gun control.

Here's what you need to know about Wednesday's walkout and what's up next.

When is this happening?

Organizers from Women's March Youth Empower have called for a 17-minute walkout worldwide at 10 a.m. local time Wednesday. That day marks one month since the shooting in Parkland, while each of the 17 minutes will honor the students and staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

More national demonstrations are planned in upcoming weeks: The March for Our Lives rally for school safety is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the nation's capital on March 24, its organizers said. And another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

Why is this happening?

Gun control advocates say lawmakers haven't done enough to stem mass shootings and end school violence. Six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. have occurred in the last decade.

Momentum appears to be on their side. Florida has a reputation for expanding gun rights but on Friday, Gov. Rick Scott signed a far-reaching school safety bill that broke with the National Rifle Association. The bill raises the minimum age to buy rifles from 18 to 21 and extends a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases to include long guns and bans bump stocks, which allow guns to mimic fully automatic fire. It also creates a so-called guardian program enabling some teachers and other school employees to carry guns.

The NRA has filed a lawsuit to block the provision that raises the age to buy guns, arguing it violates the Second Amendment.

Will students be disciplined for leaving class?

The American Civil Liberties Union has fielded hundreds of inquiries about whether students can be punished for leaving class. The answer is yes — but what they can't do is discipline students more harshly for protesting than if a student were missing class for another reason.

Some schools have taken a hard line, promising to suspend students who walk out, while others are using a softer approach, working with students to set up places on campus where they can remember the victims of the Florida shooting and express their views about school safety and gun control.

At Edina High School, principal Andy Beaton said his school will remain neutral about the walkout. Students who decide to participate in the walkout will be allowed to leave classes at 10 a.m. and gather in the east parking lot where the school will provide supervision and security.

Students are expected to return to class on time for next period starting at 10:35 a.m., he said.

"Consequences of the attendance policy will apply to students who do not return to class on time or leave the EHS campus during the school day without parent permission," Beaton said in a letter to parents.

A student holds a sign referencing the 17 students killed in Parkland
A student holds a sign referencing the 17 students killed in the Parkland, Fla. school shooting last month.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Which local students are participating?

Walkouts are scheduled to take place at these schools, as of Tuesday. Organizer Women's March Youth Empower reports more than 2,850 walkouts are planned.


• Davis High School; Fargo, N.D.

• Moorhead High School; Moorhead, Minn.

Grand Forks area

• Fisher High School; Fisher, Minn.

• Grand Forks Central High School; Grand Forks, N.D.


• TrekNorth Junior and Senior High School

• Bemidji High School


• Denfeld High School

• Duluth East High School

• Harbor City International School

• North Shore Community School

• University of Minnesota Duluth

Twin Cities metro area

• Anthony Middle School; Minneapolis

• Apple Valley High School

• Avalon School; St. Paul

• Benilde-St. Margaret's, St. Louis Park

• Brimhall Elementary School, Roseville

• Buffalo High School

• Burnsville High School

• Central High School; St. Paul

• Central Park Elementary; Roseville

• Chanhassen High School

• Chaska High School

• Columbia Heights High School

• Como Park Senior High School; St. Paul

• Creative Arts Secondary School; St. Paul

• Eagan High School

• East Ridge High School; Woodbury

• Eastview High School; Apple Valley

• Eden Prairie High School

• Edina High School

• Elk River High School

• Falcon Heights Elementary School

• Great River School; St. Paul

• Harding Senior High School; St. Paul

• Highland Park Senior High School; St. Paul

• Hill-Murray School; Maplewood

• Johnson High School; St. Paul

• Lakeville South High School

• Lyndale Community School, Minneapolis

• Minnetonka High School

• Mound-Westonka High School; Minnetrista

• Murray Middle School, St. Paul

• North High School; North St. Paul

• Northfield Middle School

• Oak Grove Middle School; Bloomington

• Orono High School, Long Lake

• Osseo Senior High School

• Park High School; Cottage Grove

• Ramsey Middle School; St. Paul

• Roseville Area High School

• Simley High School; Inver Grove Heights

• St. Louis Park High School

• St. Michael-Albertville High School

• Stillwater Area High School

• Waconia High School

• Washburn High School; Minneapolis

• Wayzata Central Middle School; Plymouth

• Wayzata East Middle School; Plymouth

• Wayzata High School; Plymouth

• Woodbury High School

• Zimmerman High School

Hundreds of high school students occupy the steps of the State Capitol
Hundreds of high school students occupy the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul March 7, 2018.
Evan Frost | MPR News

Central Minnesota

• Alexandria High School

• BOLD High School; Olivia

• Litchfield High School

• Morris Area High School

• Sartell High School

• Willmar Senior High

South-central Minnesota

• Faribault High School

• Mankato East High School

• Mankato West High School

• Northfield High School

• Northfield Middle School

• St. Peter High School

Southeastern Minnesota

• Century High School, Rochester

• John Marshall High School, Rochester

• Winona High School, Winona

Southwestern Minnesota

• Pipestone Area High School

• Southwest Minnesota State University

MPR News reporter Mukhtar M. Ibrahim and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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