ANTIOCH, TN — The National School Walkout demonstration at Antioch High School Wednesday became "unruly," as a group of students ripped down the American flag, damaged a police car and began fighting during the nationwide event advocating against gun violence and intended to honor the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Cell phone videos taken by students went viral Wednesday night as word spread of the aftermath of the walkout at the high school. The footage shows a group of students rushing to the flag pole, tearing down and then stomping the flag before an unidentified adult is able to grab it. Other videos show students heaving water bottles into the crowd, dancing and fighting during the planned 17 minutes of silence
Metro Police said a patrol car was also damaged.
MNPS released a statement Wednesday evening:
At MNPS, we respect the right of our students to advocate for causes that are important to them.
Unfortunately, some students on our Antioch campus today chose to protest in ways that significantly disrupted school operations and threatened the safety and order for other students and staff within our school.
Swift action was taken by school security and MNPD to address the situation. No students or staff members were injured during the walkout.
The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Inappropriate behaviors that threaten school safety will be handled immediately and firmly in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and MNPD. We understand that our students may be feeling lots of emotions, including anxiety, fear and even anger about today’s events. We encourage parents to talk to your child(ren) about how they may be feeling, and the importance of expressing themselves in appropriate ways while at school. MNPS also has counselors available and ready to talk to students at any time.
We look forward to welcoming students back tomorrow for a great day of teaching and learning.
MNPS implemented a plan ahead of the walkout intended to minimize disruption, with many principals assisting student leaders with planning events, locations and speakers. There were no problems at any other Metro school Wednesday.
Image via Shutterstock