Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord striking balance between student walkouts and classroom

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- Even if they cannot be in Tallahassee, students in our area want to do their part to influence legislative change following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

For several days, students in both Palm Beach and Martin counties have walked out of their classrooms, sending a message to law makers and school leaders that they want more to be done to help them feel safe at school. Many times they have called for stricter gun laws.

Now, school leaders are learning how to strike the balance between letting students express their concerns, and be a part of an effort to spark change, without jeopardizing the focus on their education by spending time outside of the classroom.

“We want them to get their education as well, so that’s why I think that the planning part is important for students,” Martin County Superintendent Laurie Gaylord said.

Gaylord supports the walkouts.

“I think they have every right to be able to express their feelings about this, express their concerns about this. We want to know what they’re feeling.”

The walkouts have already happened at Martin County High School and South Fork High School, she said. The walkouts have been planned, and brought to the attention of administrators, which she says will continue to make them successful, and continue to receive her support.

“I believe that the students can make a difference and they do have a voice,” Gaylord said.

Gaylord also wants students to continue to share ideas for new ways to make students feel safe.

Martin County High Schools already have just one point of entry, Gaylord said. The high schools and middle schools also have regularly assigned school resource officers.

She hopes the walkouts will remain productive and even grow in the future.

“I think as we go forward, I think that to be able to have a plan that may be district wide to be able to include students, administrators, community members so that we can all talk about it.”

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