As the number of Erie County high school students protest gun violence during the National School Walkout continues to grow, two local Catholic high schools say they are taking a different approach. 

Next Wednesday, March 14th, thousands of students from high schools across Erie County and nationwide are expected to walk out of class, demanding an end to school violence, but this will not be the case at Cathedral Prep. and Villa Maria Academy.  

Father Scott W. Jabo, President of Cathedral Prep. and Villa Maria, says he understands students are concerned with the violence happening in our school and knows they are ready to take a stand, but at his schools, it won’t be by walking out.  

For 17 minutes at 10am next Wednesday, students and supporters around the world are expected to walk out of their schools to honor those killed at the Parkland High School massacre and protest gun violence during the National School Walkout.  

Prep. and Villa administrators have decided that is not the best course of action.  The schools have decided to hold a prayer service, followed by a mass and all students are writing letters to the Parkland School community.

Jabo says, “as we looked at what others are doing and we reflect on who we are, as a Catholic school in particularly, we felt this would be an effective way to get our students involved and be a good witness of another approach which we feel will be very effective”.

While he realizes this may not be what all the students want, he stresses that this is the process for the day and any student who walks out without school permission will be in violation of school policy.  “This is what we are doing as a school as it is important that we are unified in our efforts to show that this is what we are as a Catholic school so our students are on board with this.”

The demonstration was originally formed by the Women’s March Youth Empower Group.  They have a website where schools can register to officially be a part of the day’s events.  Erie, Millcreek, Harborcreek, Iroquois, are all participating.  

Meantime, at Erie’s third Catholic high school, Mercyhurst Prep’s President tells us they have nothing official planned for the day.  

More than 185,000 students are expected to participate in the walkout according to the latest numbers provided by Women’s March Youth Empower Group.