Metro Detroit school officials concerned about safety during student walkout

Thousands of students nationwide plan walkout

NOVI, Mich. - The number of school threats have spiked since the shooting Parkland, Florida, and in light of recent events, students across the country are planning a walkout to march for school safety.

In Novi, schools are warning about a safety risk associated with the walkout.

The nationwide walkout is designed to show solidarity among students and force lawmakers to consider changing gun laws. It's raising even more safety concerns if thousands of students suddenly leave school buildings.

Last week, the Wayne-Westland School District canceled classes after an online threat. The threat was later deemed unfounded, but school officials took it seriously.

"I'm concerned with all of these kids walking out," high school parent Heather Conkright said. "I do believe in protest, however, with children walking out, they're a target."

The idea behind the walkout is that leaving the hallways and stepping outside the building will show lawmakers that youngsters care about the gun debate. But many parents don't see it that way.

"If someone is unstable and even thinking of doing an unspeakable act, I don't want my kid to be out there as a target," high school parent Connie Yoshikawa said.

Wayne-Westland Superintendent Shelley Holt believes many in her district will not leave the halls.

"I don't see our kids walking out as much I do foresee them sitting in," Holt said.

Students from Novi High School and Novi Middle School plan to participate in the walkout, and teachers have a plan.

"If everyone leaves the classroom, then they can leave and lock the doors," a teacher said. "If someone stays in the classroom, then they are to stay with those students."

Novi Superintendent Steve Matthews shares parents' fears, especially if 2,000 students jam the halls and walk outside.

"It sets us up for potential catastrophe," Matthews said.

Matthews said it's hard to keep students safe if they're not inside the school.

"They're going to be free to walk out of our classroom, but we would prefer they stay in the building," Matthews said.

But some parents aren't taking chances and said they will keep their children at home on the day of the walkout.

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