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Billings schools, police prepare for Wednesday student walkout - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Billings schools, police prepare for Wednesday student walkout

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BILLINGS - School District 2 officials say they will support students' right of freedom of expression on Wednesday during a planned walkout at 10 a.m.

For 17 minutes, students will stand outside in designated areas to honor the 17 victims shot and killed in the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in February. Wednesday marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting.

While officials aren't certain how many students will participate between the three Billings public high schools and the Career Center, they're planning to keep students safe with Billings police officers and retired administrators on hand.

"We've spent the last three weeks working with our staff, with the Billings police force, with our teachers," said Superintendent Terry Bouck. "We sent out communication to the parents to let them know what is expected and what is going to take place."

Teachers will take attendance before and after the walkout. 

Bouck expects Wednesday's walkout to be peaceful and respectful. SD2 will not take a political stance on the issue of gun reform that any participating students may want from the Montana Legislature.

As far as the number of students participating, Bouck says in speaking with school leaders, there is not much buzz surrounding the event.

"There could be 100, 250, 500, I'm not sure," he said. "The bottom line is we're prepared, because that's what is most important in terms of safety."

Bouck also praised the high school students involved in planning the event. "It was amazing to me. They are so smart, they're great listeners. They understand about safety. They understand about respecting different views."

"This has been a teachable moment for them in terms of learning Tinker vs. Des Moines (a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case solidifying students' right of free speech and protest) and all of that. I couldn't be happier about our students. They were wonderful and makes me proud."

Q2 News will have live coverage of the walkouts on social media as well as online.

See also: Billings school officials set guidelines for March 14 walkout

See also: Billings students opposing school walkout speak out

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