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TFHS plans alternative to March 14 protest


Nationwide, students on public school campuses will be protesting what they view as a lack of competence on the part of the adults in their lives to take meaningful action in stopping the gun violence that has become a unique plague in American schools.

March 14, students around the country have planned to walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. The non-violent protest will last 17 minutes to honor the 17 students and staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.

Thompson Falls High School principal Rich Ferris reported that students and staff are working together to create a meaningful alternative to the protest, which could be construed as truancy. “We are proposing ‘170 minutes of Awareness’ to have open discussions about the topics that concern students,” said Ferris, “This was organized to create an alternative to the planned walkout with activities that address student concerns with school safety. We are providing this proactive alternative as a way to avoid disciplining a large group of students for infractions of school rules and policy.” Ferris added that ‘group discipline’ is not something the school believes in, so students who chose to walk out will be addressed individually based on their actions and the school’s handbook.

The morning session of workshops created through a teacher/student collaboration will cover topics such as situational safety, creating a sense of belonging, see something/say something, value of life, family and survivor recovery, gun rights vs. student safety concerns, celebrating each other, and how to seek help if you feel isolated.

The afternoon activity is called “What’s Your 17?” “The premise of the session is to get 17 kids together that normally are not,” Ferris clarified, “this is an opportunity for everyone to make 17 connections that they have not had before.” Sessions will rotate with 17 students and a teacher. Two concurrent groups will run at five stations. Each station’s class will run 20 minutes, with three minutes to move to the next station. The last hour of the day will have the new acquaintances participating in gym activities together.


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