Students across Chicago-area participate in National School Walkout

CHICAGO — Students at schools across the Chicago-area participated in a national walkout to protest gun violence Wednesday morning.

The walkouts were planned after a gunman killed 17 people one month ago today at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Many students plan to step outside at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes, one minute for each person killed at the Florida school.

Each school district handled the walkout in its own way. Some say they won't penalize students who participate, while others are threatening kids with disciplinary action.

Chicago Public Schools handled the walkouts on a case by case basis. CPS administrators did not help plan any of the demonstrations, but at many schools, students were allowed to take part. However, students that did not return to class after the walkout were given an unexcused absence.

Chicago's Republican Party filed a complaint with the inspector general, and is now threatening to sue CPS over how they andled the walkout.

“Our objection is two fold," Chris Cleveland from Chicago's GOP said. "First it shouldn’t be done with elementary school students. Secondly it shouldn’t be done by teachers and principals. It’s not appropriate for them to be engaging in political indoctrination.”

Here's how some Chicago-area schools handled the walkout:

  • Aurora East did not allow the walkout, but will have indoor activities.
  • Aurora West allowed students to walkout onto the football field.
  • Plainfield 202 allowed students to walkout only if they agree to meet with legislatures after school to move the issue forward.
  • Glenbrook high schools considered the walkout an unexcused absence.

Dozens of Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties planned peace-building activities during the walkout.

Some legislators in Springfield also walked out of the capitol for 20 minutes on Wednesday morning to show solidarity with students.