GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Almost a month after 17 people were killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Highschool, people across the country held demonstrations in their honor.
Thousands of high school students walked out of classrooms Wednesday to honor the lives lost, including some students in the East.
At Pitt County Early College, students walked out of class in silence.
The names of Stoneman Douglas victims were read, along with a little information about each one of them.
At the end of each name, a balloon was released.
Students 9 On Your Side talked to said they were not advocating a political agenda, but instead wanted to honor the lives of those lost.
There were concerns over the legal rights of students and schools to either participate or restrict student involvement.
Students are protected by the 1st Amendment to actively protest as long as they do not disturb the educational environment.
The Supreme Court case from 1969, Tinker v. Des Moines, laid the groundwork for students to protest at their schools.
Beaufort County Schools said in a statement they are aware of possible student demonstrations in response to the Parkland shooting and other acts of school violence.
They did not specify which school or schools may be participating.
They said while they respect students’ rights to voice their opinions, they also think it is important to provide a structured learning environment.
“While students may choose to exercise their rights to advocate for causes that are important to them, the rules related to student conduct and school safety shall apply at all times,” said Mark Doane, assistant superintendent of Beaufort County Schools.
School officials said they are going to work with students to talk about non-disruptive forms of communication during the school day.
Other school districts such as Pitt County Schools are working with students to provide an avenue for them to walk-out.
“If students are participating in unison with school administration and student leadership, then there would be no repercussions; otherwise, if they are skipping classes, they would be subject to consequences based on our code of student conduct,” said Travis Lewis of Pitt County Schools.
Other schools are providing alternate activities.
“The Carteret County Public School System will take part in the national March 14 School Walkout event through a variety of positive and proactive activities, such as 17 seconds of silence and unity circles,” said Tabbie Nance of Carteret County Schools.