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Florida shooting: US high school students stage mass walkout

Florida shooting: US high school students stage mass walkout
From BBC - March 14, 2018

Students and school staff across the US are commemorating the Florida school shootings with a walkout, exactly one month after the killings.

They are stopping lessons for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

A former pupil has been charged with the killings.

Organisers of the protest accuse Congress of failing to tackle gun violence adequately.

The White House revealed a plan this week to deter school shootings which does not include President Donald Trump's repeated calls to raise the age for buying semi-automatic rifles to 21.

Instead, it moves ahead with his controversial proposal to provide firearms training to school employees.

How is the protest unfolding?

The walkouts were scheduled to begin at 10:00 (10:00 EST is 14:00 GMT) across America's time zones.

Organisers of the National School Walkout, who were also behind the Women's March in January 2017 against Mr Trump's inauguration, are calling on "students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies" to take part.

On their website, they accuse Congress of "inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing" schools and neighbourhoods.

"Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day," they say.

"We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address[es] the public health crisis of gun violence."

The disruption to the school day is opposed by some schools, notably in one Texas district where students who walk out have been told they face a three-day suspension.

"We will discipline no matter if it is one, 50, or 500 students involved," said Needville schools superintendent Curtis Rhode.

What happened in Parkland?

How have the authorities responded?

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