Stevenson students encouraged to "Walk Up" on "National Walkout Day"

According to school officials, walking up could mean talking to a student you normally wouldn’t talk to, helping someone carry their books, or even just a simple smile.

Posted: Mar. 14, 2018 3:14 PM
Updated: Mar. 14, 2018 3:30 PM

As schools all across the nation take part in a walkout day to honor the victims of the Florida school shooting, some schools in our area are taking a different approach.

Instead of walking out of school, students at Stevenson Middle School in Jackson County will be walking UP.

According to school officials, walking up could mean talking to a student you normally wouldn’t talk to, helping someone carry their books, or even just a simple smile.

“In the wake of the sadness, we are trying to bring happiness, said Stevenson Middle School guidance counselor, Rachel Blackwood.

That was the idea behind the 'Walk Up" event at Stevenson Middle School.

Instead of joining in on "National Walkout Day," Stevenson Middle School officials say they wanted to try a more positive approach.

“Knowing, as a principal, that event could happen anywhere," said Stevenson Middle School principal, Beverly Ashmore. "I think it’s important that our students understand that those people are people just like we are, and that that happened in a place just like where we live, and that’s reality today.”

Ashmore said that’s why they’re trying to teach students to be kind to one another, saying change starts with the small things.

“If it’s nothing more than a smile that brings a smile to your face," Ashmore said.

“We just try to promote that everyone belong, and that bystanders don’t exist," Blackwood added.

Blackwood said, after Wednesday’s "Walk Up" event, she’s expecting good things from students.

“Walking out of the assembly, I had three kids just reach out and try to high-five me, just because of what was said in the assembly," Blackwood said.

And parents seem to be in support.

“It’s just a great reminder that no matter what happens in the world that may be negative, there’s also positives, and that each person has the opportunity to stand up and be a positive role model to others and to be an encourager," said parent of Stevenson Middle School student, Crystal McCrary.

Principal Ashmore tells WAAY 31 they will share the results from their event on social media, in hopes that it may get back to the families of the shooting victims in Florida.

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