National School Walkout: Students mark Columbine anniversary

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(AP) — Thousands of Virginia students are expected to hold a rally at the State Capitol as part of a nationwide protest against school violence on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre.

The National School Walkout has been organized in response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and faculty members dead.

Students across the country are planning to leave their schools at 10 a.m. Friday. 

Butler High School in Matthews, North Carolina is just one local school out of many across North Carolina that are participating in today's walkout. 

Charlotte Mecklenburg School officials released this statement on Friday:

CMS supports the right of students to express themselves within the guidelines of the CMS Code of Student Conduct and guidance provided by the district. This guidance encourages students to work with principals, teachers and staff to create planned events that provide learning opportunities to all students who choose to participate. The CMS Code of Student Conduct remains in place and students are subject to the measures of that code when guidance for student expression is not followed.

In Virginia, students plan to host a voter registration drive on Brown’s Island in Richmond, then march to the State Capitol for a rally that will include Gov. Ralph Northam and state legislators.

Student organizer Maxwell Nardi said the students hope to work with lawmakers to “create a unified message that we’re going to fight this together.”