The event came one month after the tragic Parkland shooting, which left 17 people dead. Once outside, students held a moment of silence for 17 minutes in memory of the victims.
However, not everyone that participated in the walkout did so voluntarily.
A group of New London, Connecticut, kindergarteners at Harbor Elementary School were led by their teachers in what they called it a “safety march.” A crossing guard for the school, Joyce Powers, explained that she saw the children being escorted in lines by teachers who were carrying signs that said “enough.”
“I thought it was pushing it with that age group,” she said. “I don’t think they understood what was actually happening.”
Many of the parents had no idea the event was going on and found out through word of mouth, on Facebook, or after their children participated in what they thought was just a “safety march.”
One parent, who chaperoned the event on school grounds, explained:
“It was discussed, it was a safety march and we took them out and they chanted ‘we love school’ and ‘honk your horn.’ And we told them that the 17 angels are above in heaven, they’re watching down and they’re proud.”
Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephen Tracy explained that he had no problem with the “safety message,” but both he and the principal of the school were not aware of the nation-wide protest for gun control that day and there were no written permissions received from parents of the kids involved.
“When you’re going to do something like that, in connection with something that — let’s face it, is controversial — that you need to seek the approval of the principal and the parents before you involve 5-year-olds in something like that.”
Jason Catala, a member of the Board of Education and chair of the board’s Policy Committee, explained that several policies were ignored and the principal has been called on to resign.