Charlotte-area students plan more walkouts Friday to keep up push for safer schools

Hoping to build on the momentum of two mass student-led protests, several Charlotte-area schools have walkouts and other events to protest gun violence planned for Friday.

The national school walkout was announced shortly after the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting. A website hosted by Indivisible, a group that opposes the Trump agenda, lists 10 protests and walkouts planned for Charlotte, Davidson, Gaston County, Waxhaw, Concord, Mooresville and Tega Cay, S.C., among more than 2,300 planned across the country.

Walkout map April 20.JPG
Map of April 20 walkout events registered at

Claire Portigue and Patrick Macalintal, 11th-graders at Charlotte Catholic High, wrote in the Observer about their plans to work with school administrators to mark the event with prayer in the football stadium and a visual representation of all the lives lost to school shootings since Columbine.

Charlotte-area students took part by the thousands in two previous national events to demand safer schools — a March 14 school walkout and Charlotte's March For Our Lives on March 24.

The latest event comes as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox is seeking almost $10 million from county commissioners to fortify school buildings and hire additional CMS police officers to protect schools in 2018-19.

In Raleigh, state lawmakers have convened a study group to propose ways to make schools safer. Members of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Youth Council, who represent several high schools, have been invited to work with them this summer, said adviser Amy Farrell.

Student and adult activists in Raleigh are also planning walkouts Friday and follow-ups to keep the pressure on this summer, the News & Observer reported. Gun proponents have also vowed to resist any state efforts to restrict gun rights.

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Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms