STONINGTON — Along with scores of other schools across the nation, students at Stonington High School have planned a ceremony Wednesday to honor the 17 students and faculty members killed in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14 by a lone gunman.
Instead of a 10 a.m. “walkout,” which many other schools will participate in, Stonington High School students have organized “Step Out for Safety,” a presentation that will take place on the football field centered on continuing the conversation about school safety.
It will be a voluntary, student-led ceremony to honor the 17 victims by reading their names aloud and ringing a bell for each one, said Stonington High Principal Mark Friese on Monday.
Students will also launch the Say Something program, which is sponsored by Sandy Hook Promise, a national nonprofit organization founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012.
“It’s really nothing more than if you see or witness something from a fellow student that shows they are in crisis and could possibly harm themselves or anybody else, say something to an adult, let somebody know,” he said. “We’re all in this together; we all want our school to be safe. And in order to ensure that happens, we need to take care and look out for each other.”
At Thursday’s Board of Education meeting, Friese said the Stonington Police Department will be at Wednesday’s event to ensure students are safe.
Students who do not want to participate will be directed to the school’s commons area for a 20-minute event, Friese said.
“We have arranged our schedule for the day and will use activity block minutes to minimize the loss of instructional time,” he said. “We all should be very proud of these student leaders who developed this program.”
Pawcatuck Middle School will hold a 17-minute program at 10 a.m. and Mystic Middle School will have an observance at the end of the school day.
High school students are also planning a separate march on March 24 to coincide with March for Our Lives, based in Washington, D.C. It will be a protest against gun violence.