In the aftermath of the tragedy in Florida, students from all over the country are coming together for a #NationalSchoolWalkout calling for tougher gun control.

The organizers behind the 17 minute walkout (a minute for each life lost in the most recent school shooting) are calling on the federal government to pass gun reform laws that will keep students safe from gun violence in their schools.  It's scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14.

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According to Channel 2, the Boise School District is considering participation in the walk out as an "unexcused absence" from class...that is, unless a parent gives their written or verbal consent for their child to participate in the peaceful protest. They're asking for that notification in advance and that parents follow the same procedures they would normally use if their child was sick, had a doctors appointment, etc.  The West Ada School District will use a similar procedure.

I'm not a parent, so I can't tell you what I would do if my child asked for me permission to miss class for the protest.  My hope is that students that choose to be part of the protest are doing it because they truly believe in what the walkout is all about and aren't just using it as an excuse to miss class.  (We were all in high school once and most of us would've done anything to miss class a time or two.)

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That hope comes from my own personal experiences following the 1999 shooting at Columbine.  I woke up terrified to go to school for the next week, but my mom insisted everything was going to be ok. I reluctantly got on the bus and headed to middle school, only for all buses going to my school to be diverted to the high school.  The huddled us into the gym with no explanation of what was happening. Through rumblings between other students and some of our teachers, I eventually found out that a bomb threat called into our school. Two more threats like that were called in over the next few days. When they eventually caught the person behind the threats, they found out that it was a student who took advantage of schools being on high alert to find a way to get out of having to go to class.  He sat with the rest of us in that high school gym knowing that there was no real danger.

Since I'm not a parent, we asked out listeners how they would handle their child's participation in the walkout with the question "Will you grant your child consent to participate? Why or why not?"  Parents were divided. Here's what you told us via our Facebook page:

  • Tia T.

    100% would support my child for standing up for what he believes in! I would expect him to stand for his beliefs, with or without my permission. He is an individual, and I encourage him to have his own thoughts and opinions, even if they differ from my own.

  • Nicole S.

    Nope. My kids will be in school! My kids and your kids and the teachers are unarmed and attacked by a maniac who shouldn't have a gun but got one because he is evil. Wake up. Chicago has the highest gun control with the most killings. Put two and two together people. The bad will always get guns or find another way to kill. We should teach the right people to defend themselves. Evil will always find a way

  • Jennifer W.

    My son will excuse his children, and we, their grandparents, will be marching right along with them. Protests and marches have played an important role in effecting change in our wonderful country, i.e., labor movement, women’s suffrage, civil rights. I’m very proud of these kids.

  • Alicia C.

    ABSOLUTELY NOT. The taxpayers have provided a public education for my child, the least she can do is show her gratitude and appreciation to the public that is giving her that free education by being present and showing up. I support the REASON for the protest, as does my child, but she can protest in her own free time, not when she is on taxpayers time. In exchange for a free education, she is expected to be there and be present, to hold up her end of that deal, to be a person of her word, to make her tax paying community proud. Protesting is an important part of our rights, and I hope she learns that, and I hope she is able to still attend after school, but the answer isn’t to waste the education time that our community and tax payers have so generously provided. Protesting should NOT be done on the taxpayers dime. That’s what free time is for.

  • Amanda H.

    I would absolutely let my child participate if that's what he felt would/could make a difference. It isn't about our beliefs on gun control. As his parent I want him to know he has a voice.

  • Amanda P.

    Nope, they will not have my permission. Because I do not agree that it is how things should be handled. I also think to many young kids use these things to jump on the wagon and join in with the crowd and not because they actually believe in the cause itself and fully know/understand what they are supporting.

  • Jennifer S.

    Absolutely I will. It's about time our children are standing up for themselves. We have failed them for far to long.