Valley Students Plan Events To Mark Florida School Shooting

Valley school officials voiced support for student-led school “walkouts” planned for Wednesday honoring the victims of last month’s school shooting in Florida.

Seventeen people were killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Feb. 14.

The surviving Parkland students themselves became advocates for tougher gun regulations immediately after the shooting.

On Wednesday a “National School Walkout“ is planned one month to the day of the Florida shooting. Click here to read more.

Local school officials say the walkouts will be a chance for students and adults to honor the victims of last month’s massacre and seek answers to the question of how to prevent more violence.

School safety became a topic of discussion immediately after the Parkland shootings, with forums locally in Derby, Seymour, and Shelton.

Here is what is planned for Wednesday.


Ansonia High School students will be participating in a student-led forum during an advisory period, according to an email shared by Superintendent Carol Merlone.

“The focus will be on honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting and coming together as a school community in our quest for unity and safety in our schools,” according to the email originated by interim Ansonia High School principal Sara Crooks.

“Student participation is completely optional, and those who choose to participate will be directed to designated areas in the school,” she said.

The students will be monitored and there will be an increased police presence around the school.

The format in Ansonia was devised by the students.

Ansonia Middle School students will also be participating in the national walkout to demonstrate their support for the movement to end gun violence, according to a statement from Ansonia Middle School Assistant Principal Steven Marchetti.

The students will be escorted to a designated spot, and the event will last 17 minutes — one minute each for every death in the Florida shooting.

“Our students are eager to lend their support to this topic of national interest, and we at Ansonia Middle School believe that this demonstration will be a valuable lesson in American democracy for them,” Marchetti said.


According to Derby Public Schools Superintendent Matthew Conway, a small group of high school students plan to leave their classes and meet in a designated spot within the high school.

“The students plan to speak about issues currently impacting them in regard to school violence,” Conway said.

The Derby students plan to record the event, and hope to put their experiences together a documentary to share with lawmakers.

The students will be monitored by staff, and the gathering is expected to last about 20 minutes.


Seymour Public Schools Superintendent Michael Wilson said in an email that Seymour middle and high school students are participating in a “planned activity.”

He declined to share the details, citing the “safety and wellbeing of our student body.”

Wilson said the event is being planned with the high school student council, the director of security, the police department, the school counseling team, and administrators.


Shelton Schools Superintendent Christopher Clouet shared a two-page letter Monday on social media in which he pledged support for a walkout at Shelton High School led by student council leaders.

During a scheduled “advisory session,” students will be able to leave the building and gather outside for 17 minutes. School administrators and police, who took part in planning the event, will also be present.

Students are also free to remain in school with teachers.

In the letter, Clouet said high school students “have deep feelings about the violence in schools which has now sadly become a tragic pattern.”

But rather than outline specific policy recommendations to change that pattern, Clouet said people should first ask a simple question — “Why?”

“Why are young men, choosing to go into schools to murder dozens of students and staff?” the superintendent wrote. “Why do adults seem powerless to stop the on-going series of school shootings? Why can’t we, as a nation, do better? This is a moment in our collective history that begs the question: why?”

Separately, a Shelton student is raising money so local students can participate in a march on Washington, D.C. March 24. Click here for details.

Clouet’s letter is posted below.

On the Issue of a School Walkout by The Valley Indy on Scribd


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