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Memphis students move walkout up a day at request of Columbine families

About 1,300 KIPP NYC students participated in the national school walkout a month after the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
About 1,300 KIPP NYC students participated in the national school walkout a month after the Parkland, Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High.
Courtesy photo/KIPP

Memphis student walkouts planned for the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado to protest gun violence will now be a day earlier.

The decision comes after a former employee of BRIDGES, a student leadership program in Memphis, had been in contact with Columbine families who asked students not walk out on the anniversary of the shooting “in order for them to spend April 20 with their families in mourning.”

The walkouts will now take place on Thursday, April 19, said student organizer Savanah Thompson, a freshman at White Station High School.

“We want to stand in solidarity with Columbine and their community and to truly support them,” she said.

About a dozen students met with Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson in late March to talk about walkout logistics — and they left with his blessing.

“No students will be suspended or expelled for taking part in this event,” Hopson said after the March 21 meeting. “No teachers will be disciplined for being supportive of these students.”

Memphis students missed the initial wave of student walkouts on March 14 because they were on spring break, but organized a march on March 24 attended by thousands.

The walkouts this month will last about 4 hours and include 17 minutes of silence to honor the 17 people killed on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. There also will be voter registration drives for older students, and information will be distributed on how to contact state lawmakers.

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