STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Whitesboro school officials move students' walkout inside

The walkout planned by students at Whitesboro High School for Tuesday afternoon has been moved inside by school officials.

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 1:14 PM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 11:20 PM

WHITESBORO – The walkout planned by students at Whitesboro High School for Tuesday afternoon has been moved inside by school officials.

Whitesboro junior Catherine Yankowski, 16, planned the walkout as a form of protest following a school shooting in Florida nearly two weeks ago that left 17 people dead. She was inspired by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who have been speaking out about gun laws since a former student opened fire there with an AR-15 that he legally owned.

Just after 12 p.m. Tuesday, Shaun Kaleta, public relations assistant for the Whitesboro Central School District, sent NEWSChannel 2 the following statement:

“Based on the strong recommendation from law enforcement, any student who participates in the walkout will be asked to assemble in the high school auditorium and remain indoors for their safety. This is precautionary in nature only.”

NEWSChannel 2 crews will not be allowed into the school, and students tell us that school officials reminded them it is a “red zone,” meaning they are not allowed to use their cell phones, so no photos or video will be available.

" I think that was the whole purpose of putting us there, so we weren't allowed to," Samantha David, a senior and protestor said. "It definitely made it so that they could put their own spin on it. They could be in control, so it wasn't even really a protest, it was just them telling us what to do, as usual."

"I announced that it would be changing, so once we got downstairs, all the doors were locked and there were security guards anyway, so we didn't have a choice," Yankowski said.

Yankowski said she still felt as though their message was heard by school officials, along with their tribute to the Parkland shooting victims.

"They just made an announcement today that as of tomorrow, there are only going to be two entrances into the school for students, compared to the multiple that we have now," Yankowski said. "The entire group joined along, singing 'Imagine' by John Lennon. That was a very nice moment."

Yankowski said the support for her movement was mixed among the student body.

"It was definitely 50-50," Yankowski said.  "A lot of students agreed with what our point was, but didn't necessarily agree with how we're doing it."

Many students chose to leave school early in the minutes leading up to the walkout.

On Monday afternoon, Whitesboro Central School District Superintendent Brian Bellair released a statement saying the district supported students’ right to freedom of speech, and that students who wanted to participate in the walkout would be allowed to do so.

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2111162

Reported Deaths: 53597
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28073410464
Queens2774519962
Suffolk2011393400
Nassau1837273176
Bronx1836646583
New York1383674505
Westchester1297062291
Erie896031809
Richmond750301840
Monroe690351111
Orange48330843
Rockland46958963
Onondaga38960677
Dutchess29478445
Albany24708356
Oneida22633516
Niagara20045374
Broome18630366
Saratoga15379168
Ulster13915257
Schenectady13207205
Rensselaer11232143
Putnam1062192
Chautauqua8957145
Chemung7772136
Oswego762692
Ontario740893
Steuben6957145
Sullivan667676
St. Lawrence664497
Cayuga633892
Jefferson614968
Wayne578370
Cattaraugus572391
Genesee5436124
Herkimer5191109
Clinton483733
Madison456489
Livingston452360
Fulton442391
Tompkins435052
Montgomery4254127
Columbia4065104
Cortland392763
Tioga383163
Warren366057
Wyoming358353
Allegany355887
Chenango350476
Otsego346347
Greene340379
Washington316255
Orleans312083
Lewis281036
Franklin256312
Delaware238538
Seneca201156
Schoharie169217
Essex159326
Yates117926
Schuyler108014
Hamilton3132
Unassigned9717
Out of NY0250
Utica
Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 65°
Oneonta
Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 60°
Herkimer
Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 65°
Old Forge
Cloudy
65° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 65°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
18 Facets of Summer Photo Contest brought to you by Herkimer Diamond Mines
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Alivana Ready for Summer Giveaway
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve