Pullman Public Schools scraps 10-year-old's walkout plan

(STORY IMAGE:KHQ.COM)

PULLMAN, Wash. -One Pullman 10-year-old is trying to make a difference at his elementary school after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida killed 17 kids and adults.

Alden Duff is a fourth grader at Jefferson Elementary School and he says he wants to promote safety and talk about gun reform in a school walkout he organized, but he says the district isn’t allowing him to do it.

Duff has worked hard for the past three weeks, researching and preparing for a walkout at his school. He knows what happened in Parkland, Florida and says it inspired him to take action. “It kind of made me feel a little scared which is one of the reasons why I did this,” he said. 

He says he wants schools to be safer. “One of the only ways I think we can do that is gun reform because people are going in with guns and then just shooting,” said Duff. 

However, Duff’s plans for a walkout have been scrapped. “The school district said we could not do the walkout and that we had to do it in an assembly and we couldn’t talk about guns or gun reform. We couldn’t even say the word guns,” he said.

A spokeswoman at Pullman Public Schools told us that a number of students expressed interest in planning a walkout at Jefferson and as an alternative, they met with the principal to plan a safety related assembly.

“Students were asked to avoid the word guns or shooting because the schools will have Kindergarten through 5th grade there and it needs to be age appropriate,” said Shannon Socht, Communication Coordinator. 

“Maybe they are right. It is an elementary school and there are kindergartners and first graders but I still think we should be able to say our message about gun reform,” said Duff. 

Duff says he will be sharing his message with the community speaking at a march in Moscow coming up on the 24th.  It’s called “March for our Lives.” 

We asked the school district what would happen if kids still decided to walkout. They told us they have the right to free speech but they would need to plan supervision. 

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