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Many local students join National School Walkout with local protests

Mar 14, 2018 3:30 pm
Multiple reports from journalists and social media showed student walkouts March 14 at schools in Chatham, Catskill, Coxsackie-Athens, Ravena, Kingston, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Bethlehem, Ballston Spa, Rondout Valley, Saugerties, Ellenville, Albany, and many other districts. A Facebook video showed about 35 Catskill students joining the National School Walkout protest, one month after the Florida school shooting that killed 17. The Coxsackie-Athens schools reported "just over 100 C-A high school students... stood silently in front of the high school and released one balloon each minute during a 17-minute period of silence in their memory." Many Cairo Middle and High School students gathered on an outside basketball court. Albany High School had one of the largest protests, with students chanting, "2, 4, 6, 8 gun control has come too late.” HudsonValley360.com reported that junior Joanna Van Slyke, one of the Catskill students organizing the walkout there, said, “I want to let everybody know that by doing this, we mean no disrespect towards the school or any officials, we just think that this issue is larger than just walking out to the auditorium.” The activist group Mountaintop Progressives had earlier said Windham-Ashland-Jewett students would participate, but school there was cancelled March 14 for weather reasons. The New York State Assembly also shut down its session and cleared its room for 17 minutes to honor Florida shooting victims. Staff at the New York teachers union filled the sidewalks, holding signs outside their Albany headquarters at the same time to join in support with the students. There were no reports of counter-protesters at any local schools March 14, but social media was full of folks commenting that students should have been attending classes. On the same day, The Poughkeepsie Journal reported that students sheltered-in-place at Poughkeepsie High School and Middle School after a social media threat about a possible shooting at the high school. The day before, a California teacher accidentally discharged a firearm while teaching a public safety class, injuring at least one student.

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