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Students plan alternatives to national walkout

Some students are addressing the issue of school violence in alternative ways.

NAMPA - A 17-minute walk out is planned for Wednesday morning at high schools across the nation — including many schools in the Treasure Valley.

The idea is to honor the victims of the school shooting in Florida and many are also doubling as rallies for stricter gun laws.

Some students are addressing the issue of school violence in alternative ways.

“Seeing, through the survivors of [the Parkland shooting], that people really can make a change,” said Ethan Schmerer, a freshman at Nampa High School. “That kids and teens can really make a change, and we wanted to be some of those kids, but coming from a different standpoint.”

Schmerer and Porter Kindall are the two students from Nampa High who are organizing an alternative protest to the planned walkouts. They will still be walking out of classes, but instead of pushing for stricter gun control laws, they want teachers armed.

“The chances of them ever having to use it would be very small, but the deterrent is a huge factor,” Schmerer said.

The teens started the group "Arm Our Teachers USA" to keep schools safe. They believe the answer is to arm a small percentage of teachers.

“If they don't want to be they don't have to be,” Kindall said.

Teachers who are willing would then go through an extensive training program and weapons would be kept locked away in a safe.

“We're not necessarily advocating for guns here,” Schmerer said. “We're advocating for lives.”

“Teachers have the heart to defend their students,” Kindall said. “They've defended their students without weaponry. They've defended their students with no means of surviving. And they die. We wouldn't have to see the teachers die. We wouldn't have to see the students die. We would hopefully have to see no one dying.”

Over at South Middle School in Nampa, students are also honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting and are working to prevent similar tragedies.

“A walkout sounded so adversarial,” said Principal Stuart Vickers. “So when students came and talked to us, we met last Friday at lunch time in each grade level at lunch, and talked about what could we do that would be more constructive that would allow kids to make an impact right here at South Middle School.”

So instead of a walkout, they’re encouraging students to do 17 random acts of kindness throughout the day on Wednesday in honor of the 17 victims of the shooting.

“My belief is some of these things wouldn't happen in these schools if people were treated kinder,” Vickers said. “If people felt like they were loved and appreciated and respected.”