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Bismarck-area officials respond to school shooting protests

February 22, 2018

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Superintendents in the Bismarck area won’t dismiss classes for any walkouts or demonstrations in support of Florida school shooting victims and gun control but won’t prohibit students from participating in them.

Students nationwide are planning walkouts over next two months to advocate for tougher gun control and to protest gun violence in response to the Florida school shooting that killed 17 last week.

Bismarck Public Schools Superintendent Tamara Uselman told the Bismarck Tribune that students will face repercussions if they don’t obtain parent permission to leave school.

“We don’t use physical restraint to force students to stay in school, so we’re certainly not going to tackle anybody and drag them back,” Uselman said. “They just need to be aware of where their parents expect them to be.”

She said students may be unable to participate in an afterschool practice or event if their guardian doesn’t notify the school of permission for their absence.

“If students aren’t in school, just like any day when a student isn’t in school, we count them absent, and a parent has every right to call in and excuse their child,” Mandan Public Schools Superintendent Mike Bitz said.

Uselman said faculty members are required to use their own leave time to participate in protests.

Uselman and Bitz are unaware of any planned walkouts, but said they’ll continue to monitor their communities.

The Bismarck Public Schools district is planning to send parents an email with more information on safety protocol for campus intruders, according to Uselman.

″(Parents) just need a basic understanding of what’s in place right now, and so, that’s our goal,” she said. In the absence of information, you know, you generate fear and conspiracy theories, and we want parents to have facts.”

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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