Parents sign children out for 17-minute long, non-school sanctioned protest

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - More than 50 students and parents participated in a walkout to show solidarity with school shooting victims at 10 a.m. March 14. More than 50 parents and students from Oregon Trail Academy showed solidarity with the victims of the Valentine's Day Parkland, Fla., shooting today with a non-school sanctioned walkout at 10 a.m.

For 17 minutes, students and parents stood in near silence, only speaking to say the name of each victim who died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as the minutes passed.

At 10:18 a.m., mother Danielle Grabiel brought out a poster board and encouraged students to write an idea of how they thought the school community could be empowered or generally made a better place.

"We're going to give this to the (director) so she knows we were productive and positive with our time today," Grabiel told those assembled.

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - For every minute that passed, students rang a triangle and read a name of one of the victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14. Students covered the poster board in thoughts, such as "Don't surrender" and "Don't be afraid."

Though the event was not supported by the Oregon Trail School District or OTA Director Debbie Johnson, Grabiel told The Post "our director's been awesome about the whole thing."

Some parents did oppose the walkout, but Grabiel said those parents were still very supportive of the rights of others, including herself, to create the experience for their children.

"We're in a great school community," Grabiel added. "Everyone was really respectful."

When asked why she personally took her two daughters out of school for those 17 minutes, Grabiel explained that "we want to show solidarity with the students in Parkland and victims of school shootings everywhere."

POST PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Several parents took their 17 minutes during the walkout not only as a teaching moment but to just be with their children. "We want to show (our kids) that we can have a voice in sad situations," Grabiel added. "We want to be a part of a national movement that's trying to get the attention of decision makers."

None of the students who participated suffered repercussions from the school district for leaving. The school does not mark students who are signed out for that short a period of time as absent. Following the protest, students returned to class to complete the school day.

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