LIVINGSTON COUNTY – Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said that specific safety plans are in place for Wednesday’s student walkout and voter registration campaign in memory of the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting.
High School students throughout Western New York planned a walkout and voter registration campaign to memorialize the victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. On March 14 at 10 a.m., many schools had a protest to last 17 minutes, one minute for each of the people who died a month ago in the mass shooting. The event was organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER an affiliate of the Women’s March.
“Although I support the right to peaceful protest, it gives me concern when it is a well publicized event that exposes the children being outside the safety of inside the schools,” posted Dougherty to Facebook. “I wanted to take a moment to put your mind at ease and advise that we have taken proactive measures to ensure their safety.
‘We have been coordinating with the four school administrations that we have Deputy Sheriffs assigned as School Resource Officers (York, Keshequa, Livonia and Dansville) and we have added additional Deputy Sheriffs and Command Staff members at each school during the walkout. We have no indicators that there will be any issues but protecting students from any harm is always our first priority.
‘The really great news is that the schools have been very proactive in coming up with innovative ideas for the students to protest without putting themselves in any danger and many include staying inside the school.
‘If your child is a student at Avon, Geneseo, Caledonia or Mount Morris, we have also extended an offer to the local Police Chief that has the SRO assigned to the school to offer our resources there as well.
‘If you have any concerns, please reach out to me via the Sheriff’s Office main line at 243-7100 or my desk at 243-7120.”
Some schools may set up registration tables and for others, online voter registration will be encouraged. The goal is to register all eligible students who will be 18 years old on election day, Nov. 6, 2018.
“I am very proud of our youth here in WNY and throughout the country who are ready to use their voices to fight for change. They have demonstrated a fierceness we haven’t seen in decades” said YVYV founder, Joan Elizabeth Seamans. “It will be interesting to see how this new and energized voting block uses their passion to influence legislation.”