Ivan Lajara reports in the Daily Freeman
that 1,300 students walked out of classes at J. Watson Bailey Middle School in Kingston Feb. 20 to hold a moment of silence for the victims of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead. The walkout was approved by the school. “We have about 1,300 people gathered right now that are showing solidarity and respect to the people in Florida,” Principal Debra Fitzgerald told students and staff gathered outside by the school basketball court shortly after noon. “I want to take a few moments for a moment of silence, for everyone in Florida — the students, the teachers — who lost their lives, and for the families and the students that were affected by the Florida shootings.” A student told the paper that students had the idea for the walkout first, and when administrators at the school heard, they signed on. “A couple of our students came up to us this morning and said that, ‘Did you hear that there’s going to be a walk-out in memory of the Florida shootings and that everybody was going to be walking out at 12 o’clock?’” Fitzgerald told the Freeman after Tuesday’s event. “So Mr. (Vice Principal Dan) Erceg came up with the idea of, ‘Let’s do it all together. Let’s do it organized so everybody is safe and ... everybody can hear what the purpose of the walkout was actually for.’” Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.