RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - A planned school walkout is causing heated debates among some Rapid City community members.
Those voices were heard at March 12th's Rapid City school board meeting.
Two students who sit on the school board commented during the meeting saying that the walkout is not politically fueled, but rather, a gathering to memorialize the students who were killed in the deadly Florida shooting last month.
But, some concerned members argue saying the students motive is political.
Elden Rice, who started the group Citizens for Academic Transparency, is okay with the walkout but feels there should also be a discussion about the school Sentinel Bill.
"We have signs up all across the country, 'gun-free zones.' We have no guns on campus. It's not working. That's why we're here. We need to do something different," said Rice.
School board members spent time debating the students' plan. With some supporting the students.
"On this issue of school violence," said Mathew Stephens, School Board President. "Their voice hasn't been heard. And the adults keep kicking the issue down the road. And they just want to be heard. They want to exercise their rights. And that's what we should be about as a district is educating, opening minds and empowering. And these students took it all upon themselves. And we're just allowing it to happen."
Students from Central and Stevens plan to leave class and go to a designated area within the schools for 17 minutes to honor the lives lost in Flordia. The Rapid City Area School Administration says they support the students' right to express themselves but are not in support of a protest.