'It is our responsibility to listen': parents support students ahead of national walkout

'It is our responsibility to listen': parents support students ahead of national walkout
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - On Wednesday, students across the country, including here in the metro-Richmond area, plan to walk out of their classrooms and stand in solidarity with their peers in Parkland, Florida.

The national school walkout is planned for 10 a.m., and students plan to walk out of class to honor the lives lost, as well as send a message about gun violence.

"They have a momentum, and it is our responsibility to listen and not get in the way," explained Kelley Marlin, who has children in Chesterfield public schools and at the Governor's School in Richmond. "I have been so touched and impressed by the kids in Florida who are speaking up about gun violence, particularly gun violence in schools."

Marlin is among several parents who are supporting their children's choice to participate in a school walkout, while also having conversations with their children at home about the tragedies other students have faced.

"I just kept encouraging my kids - this is an important issue for this generation, and I hope you'll stand with them if you feel the same way," she said.

Unique Hutchinson has a son in middle school in Henrico. She has been talking to her son about the purpose of the walkout.

"It showed me he understands what's going on," said Hutchinson. "It shows me that he's paying attention and he's receiving what I'm saying and what's going on in the world."

Hutchinson has also been appreciative of the way Henrico County schools plans to support and keep their students safe as they exercise their freedom of speech, hoping what her son experiences Wednesday will inspire him to do more to make a difference in the community as he continues to get older.

"This is going to be a peaceful demonstration. This is not for fun, it is to show support," said Hutchinson.

In a letter to families last week the school system wrote, "Out of this unspeakable tragedy, a valuable teaching moment has emerged."

"Their voices need to be heard," explained Hutchinson. "They are the current generation and the future generation."

There are several schools planning for the national school walkout - here is what you need to know.

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