At 9 a.m. this morning, students at South Mecklenburg High School were allowed 17 minutes to gather outside the school to honor the 17 people killed in last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The school-sanctioned event followed a letter sent by CMS Monday that urged school principals to remind students that CMS supports their right to peacefully assemble and that the student code of conduct will be enforced during any student protests.
The letter recommended principals provide space on campus for students to assemble and respectfully discuss opposing views.
CMS spokesperson Brian Hacker says South Mecklenburg’s principal opened this morning's event by encouraging students to “talk about what they want to see in the way of positive change.” Afterward, students returned to class.
The activity also aligned with tonight's planned march in Raleigh, where 2,000 people - mostly teenagers - are expected to march to demand lawmakers take action on gun control legislation.
Hacker says South Mecklenburg High School administrators wanted students to feel like they had the opportunity to be heard "from a distance."