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How One CMS School Accommodates Student Demonstration, Parents' Concerns

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Myers Park High School will be among many schools around the nation participating in events to honor the 17 victims who died in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Unlike some schools, Myers Park is billing it as a vigil, not a walkout. In order to participate, students had to submit permission slips signed by their parents.

According to Myers Park Principal Mark Bosco, that idea to call it a vigil came from students who wanted to distance the event from the national walkout, led by organizers Women’s March Youth EMPOWER – which is in favor of stricter gun control.

“The kids were very specific in what they wanted and what they didn’t want,” Bosco said. “They felt inclusivity was probably the most important part of our activity tomorrow. In the spirit of inclusivity, they chose to remain as non-partisan as possible.”

Bosco said he received concerned calls from parents who didn’t want their kids to participate. He decided to require students to submit permission slips. Students who have the forms signed by their parent will receive a wrist band tomorrow, allowing them to go to the vigil.

“The whole reason of permission forms and wrist bands is so that we are being as respectful as we can to the varied views that exist within our society right now,” Bosco said.

Some parents chose not to sign the permission slip out of security concerns. The event is happening in the school’s main quad outside – a location that makes some parents nervous, Bosco said.

He has not hired extra security, but has instead gathered a group of approved parent volunteers to help manage the event.  

As with many other schools, the event will occur at 10a.m. tomorrow and will last 18 minutes. Each minute will be devoted to honoring a specific victim of the Parkland shooting. The students also added an extra minute to honor a former student who was shot and killed at a convenience store in East Charlotte March 5. 17-year-old Daquan Shannon attended Myers Park for three years before transferring to Garinger High School, where he was attending before his death.

Jessa O’Connor was an assistant digital news editor and Sunday reporter for WFAE.