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Tampa Bay Schools Prepare For March 14 Walkout Protests

Leona Rosado
Land O' Lakes Student
Students at Land O' Lakes High School in Pasco County walked out of class on February 21 to push for stricter gun control.

Students across Tampa Bay are expected to participate in a national school walkout on March 14 - the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

Many Tampa Bay schools are letting staff help students organize events, rather than punishing them for missing class or disrupting campus.

Events are being planned by students at more than a dozen schools in Tampa Bay, according to the ENOUGH: National School Walkout page.

Kyle Kennedy, a spokesperson for the Polk County School District, said part of the goal is to give students a chance to talk about what they're experiencing. 

"We're not sanctioning or authorizing student walkouts, but we have encouraged principals to work with students if they want an opportunity to express themselves and show support for the Parkland community," Kennedy said.

Sarasota County Schools is planning to hold an observance in conjunction with the national walkouts at 10 a.m. on March 14. 

Sarasota Superintendent Todd Bowden said many students and district employees indicated they wanted to participate in the event.

“I know our students will plan thoughtful events during the 17 minutes of observation on March 14 to remember the fallen, especially fellow students and those in the education field affected by this tragedy," Bowden said in a statement.

Pinellas County School District spokesperson Lisa Wolf said the district is still getting together a plan on how to deal with planned student walkouts. Schools in Hillsborough County will be on spring break.

Roberto Roldan is a senior at the University of South Florida pursuing a degree in mass communications and a minor in international studies.