PALM BAY, Florida – Heritage High School students were marked ‘tardy’ for missing class in order to participate in a gun control protest that took place on Wednesday at the school’s campus in Palm Bay, Florida.
The Brevard County protest, organized by Heritage High School students Amya Mclean and Aniyah Smith, was held at the same time as other student protests took place across Florida following the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The Heritage High School protest lasted for 17 minutes to symbolize the 17 people killed in the Broward County, Florida school shooting.
The students left during lunch period to gather on a plaza in front of the school’s administration building in the southeastern corner of the Palm Bay campus where they chanted, “Stop the violence.”
“Today as a school we decided to walked out of class for 17 minutes,” said one Heritage High student.
“We wanted one thing to be heard. We want the violence to stop and we want change. There is no reason 17 students should be dead. We need need gun control now not tomorrow.”
Heritage High School Student Protesters Disciplined
Although the protest took place on campus during school hours, the Brevard Public Schools’ administration characterized the gun-control rally as non-disruptive to the other students who did not participate in the walk-out.
A few hundred of the 1,800 students who attend Heritage High School participated in the protest. The students who did participate in the protest and arrived late at their next period received an unexcused tardy.
“Principals have discretion under our discipline plan to impose a range of discipline that’s appropriate for the situation,” said Brevard County Public Schools spokesman Matt Reed.
“The students behaved peacefully without disrupting classes or anyone else’s education. An unexcused tardy seems like an appropriate sanction.”
Image credit: Heritage High School student