Hawaii Department of Education supports student walkouts

Hawaii Department of Education supports student walkouts
Students grieve at Pine Trails Park for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - The Hawaii Department of Education says it will support students who plan to participate in the school walkouts planned nationwide to protest gun violence.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that the department last week advised schools to designate walkout areas, saying it "supports students' constitutional rights to a peaceful assembly and free expression."

The department said, however, that students who leave campus during the event will be marked as unexcused or absent.

The March 14 walkouts are organized under the Women's March Youth EMPOWER organization. The walkouts are scheduled to last 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed last month in the Florida high school shooting.

Some schools across the country have discouraged participation. A Texas school district said it will suspend any student who participates in a walkout.

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