Superintendent responds to National School Walkout, local school plans own remembrance

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - While students across the state and country are planning on participating in the national school walkout Wednesday, one Bay District school is planning its own act of solidarity.

MGN Online

High school students at Deane Bozeman School have the option of taking part in a 17-minute moment of silence. One minute to remember each victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Students nationwide are considering walking out of school as a protest demanding stricter gun laws as well as a demonstration of unity with the South Florida high school.

While the students at Bozeman will not be leaving campus, they will be using a portion of the day to break off into student-led groups to discuss their concerns and ideas to improve school safety and security.

The idea behind having students facilitate the conversation is to create an inclusive environment in which students can voice their feelings on what needs to be done at the school.

"Makes me feel great to know that my students are comfortable enough with me to approach me about this. They could've just planned it on their own, but they sought my blessing and they approached me with a plan," Josh Balkom, Deane Bozeman School Principal, said.

Since the shooting in Parkland, the Bay County Sheriff's Office's Criminal Investigations Divisions has investigated 30 school threats made to schools in Bay County.

As for students planning on walking out of school Wednesday, Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt said the action will be considered leaving school without permission.

He said is concern is students' safety if they decide to walk off school grounds.

Husfelt recommended students dedicate time before or after school, or during lunch to honor and pray for the shooting victims and those impacted.

"I think the most humbling thing is I've heard some of the plans about where they're going to remember the 17 people that were killed and memorialize them and I think that's probably more what many of them are going to do than protest any of them," Husfelt said.

He also said Bay District students have been proactive in notifying faculty and administration about threats made to their schools.