By MEGHAN PIERCE
PETERBOROUGH — Student organizers of a walkout planned at ConVal High School Wednesday say 17 minutes will not have enough of an impact and plan to walk off campus afterward and protest the the remainder of the school day.
Students from across the country are planning to walkout of class tomorrow to remember the 17 people gunned down at Parkland, Florida, high school last month on Valentine’s Day.
Close to 40 students met in the Peterborough Town Library conference room Friday afternoon to organize for Wednesday’s school walkout. The students were mostly from ConVal, but there were also students from High Mowing, a private school in Wilton, and Wilton-Lyndeborough Cooperative High School in Wilton.
ConVal student Anna McGuiness told the group of high school students Friday there would be more action Wednesday then the 17 minute walkout.
“At ConVal, it’s been tough, after the Parkland shooting,” she said. “We don’t super feel comfortable. We don’t know what to do about it. It’s really upsetting. … It affects our everyday lives in a way I think parents understand, but … the general public doesn’t.”
McGuiness and fellow ConVal students Lily Denehy, Evening Iwanowicz and Daisy Young are organizing the ConVal event and have drafted a list of requests they are asking for during the march including one universal background check, licenses to carry, a ban on assault weapons and assault weapon accessories, moving the gun purchase age to 21 and reducing the voting age for local elections to 16.
McGuiness said students participating in the march Wednesday will leave campus on foot and walk to the steps of the Peterborough Town House.
During the 30 minute walk, she advised, students to stay on the sidewalk, observe traffic laws, and only cross the street at cross walks.
“In Peterborough you do not need a parade permit if you stay on the sidewalks and do not obstruct traffic,” McGuiness said. “If you go off of the sidewalk we are breaking the law.”
The ConVal students are also being asked not to encourage any middle schoolers at South Meadwon School next door to the high school to particapte in the walk to town. According to MCGuiness the middele schoolers willAt the Peterborough Town House the students will give speeches. Later the students will go next door to the Monadnock Center for History and Culture, where they have been invited to come inside and write letters to politicians about the issue and then walk to the Peterborough Post Office to mail the letters. The protest will last till the end of the school day, 2:20 p.m.
Students were encouraged to write speeches, but to be respectful in what they say – avoid rants or violent threats against politicians and don’t use partisan language, the teens said.
“People are going to try and not take it seriously because we’re kids,” said ConVal student Oliver Ward, 18, of Peterborough.
McGuiness also told the group there are pro-second amendment students at ConVal who may mount a counter protest to their anti-gun protest and to be mindful and respectful of people with opposing few who might show up on Wednesday.
“Obviously we don’t represent every student at ConVal. We don’t represent ConVal,” she said.
ConVal school officials have advised the students to not to drive off campus, but also that any students who do not return to class after the 17 minute observance will face consequences and could be subject to detention, McGuiness said.
Its a reisk these studetns are ready to take.
“At ConVal, it’s been tough, after the Parkland shooting,” McGuiness said. “We don’t super feel comfortable. We don’t know what to do about it. It’s really upsetting. … It affects our everyday lives in a way I think parents understand, but … the general public doesn’t.”