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Thursday, Jan 17, 2019
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Massive student walkout planned today in Tampa Bay and across the nation

Thousands of Tampa Bay area high school students and even many middle school students are expected to participate today in a national school walkout remembering the victims of the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland.

In general, the demonstrations will consist of students leaving their classrooms at 10 a.m. and observing 17 minutes of silence in honor of the 17 people who died in the shooting. It also is seen as a call for gun reform.

RELATED: Remembering Parkland — At some schools, student walkouts become a learning tool

At most schools, administrators are working with student leaders to make the demonstration a positive experience. Many schools have taken the step of incorporating the subject of student activism and civic engagement into their curricula.

In some districts around the country, however, students have been told they will face discipline for participating in the walkout.

The walkout is the being coordinated nationally by a group called EMPOWER, a branch of the Women’s March. As of late Tuesday, the group said more than 3,100 schools "and counting" would participate today.

RELATED: Pasco students free to participate in protests without punishment

Tampa Bay Times education reporters will be tracking the event, and will be attending walkouts at several schools, including Clearwater High and Crews Lake Middle School in Shady Hills.

The area’s largest school district, Hillsborough County, is on spring break this week, so a walkout there is not possible. But students have organized a related gathering Wednesday afternoon in Ybor City.

Stay with tampabay.com for updates throughout the day.

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