East Tennessee schools prepare for National Walkout Day

NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) - East Tennessee schools are preparing for National Walkout Day on Wednesday, a national campaign where kids across the country will be walking out of classrooms.

The campaign is being called #Enough and comes nearly a month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead.

Cocke Couty High School Principal Gaile Burchette said students approached her last week asking how they could peacefully organize a walkout. They decided to move the event to the gym due to weather. 

Burchette said students are not be required to attend, but those who want to participate will be allowed to gather in the gym at 10 a.m.

"I think this is a good chance to see how government can run and should run. You are allowed to have peaceful assembly and have a voice, and you are never to young to start putting your voice to use," said Burchette.

Abby Verheeck, one of the students who helped organize the event, said they will honor the victims of Parkland and also have a few student speakers. She said she wants other kids her age to know you can speak up.

"You are allowed to have an opinion that is different than anyone else. It can be the same, it can be different but you're allowed to voice your opinion. Just because you're not old enough to vote doesn't mean you can't participate in our government and make a change," said Verheeck. 

In other school districts around East Tennessee, Sevier County school leaders said they will allow students to participate if they want to at 10 a.m. Counselors will also be available to talk to students if needed.

Campbell County Schools said they have students who have said they will be taking part. Students who chose to join will also have the opportunity to write letters to lawmakers and review safety resources.

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