David Hogg Deletes School Walkout Tweets After Columbine Asks Anniversary Be Reserved for Honoring Victims

High school student turned anti-gun activist David Hogg deleted tweets about Friday’s second National School Walkout stating that the event — taking place on the anniversary of the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado that resulted in the deaths of 12 people — would include more than just students pressing for gun control.

“It’s been just over 2 months,” David Hogg, a student at the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 people died after a former student shot them, said in a now-deleted tweet. “We have walked out of school and now, on 4/20, we walk out everywhere. No matter where you are — if it’s home, school, or work — walk out. Gun violence can happen anywhere at anytime.”

After learning of a letter written by from current principal Scott Christy and former principal Frank DeAngelis expressing the hope that Friday’s anniversary would be about honoring the victims instead of protesting, Hogg took to Twitter to post another tweet and apologize, posting the letter with it.

“I’m sorry for my miscommunication yesterday I said that we should all walk out of wherever you are on 4/20 that was a mistake on my end and is no longer the case,” Hogg said in a now-deleted tweet. “This is what the Columbine community would like to see on 4/20. #DayOfService.”

Some students at Columbine did take part in the first National School Walkout.

After deleting his tweets, Hogg on Monday issued two more:

“We are still walking out however the Columbine community will be committing 4/20 to volunteering. Once again we are still walking out. We are still walking out. We are still walking out. We are still walking out @schoolwalkoutUS has been working incredibly hard on this,” Hogg tweeted.

“Again the walkout is still on however the Columbine community will be committing their day to community service in remembrance of those they lost,” Hogg tweeted.

Jason E. Glass, superintendent of Jeffco public schools, posted a letter on the school district’s website about Columbine’s anniversary and the walkout:

Dear Team Jeffco (Public Schools),

On March 14, our schools successfully, and respectfully, navigated the student walkouts supporting the students, families, and staff who were so devastatingly impacted by the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At that time, I also shared our desire and commitment, as a district, to meaningfully engage our entire community in the topic of school safety. As a first step, we hosted a community safety forum on March 20 at Lakewood High School, part of which included soliciting volunteers for a community safety task force. I will continue to keep you updated on the progress and recommendations of this group.

Given our own shared experiences, the events in Parkland, Florida certainly struck close to our heart. We are quickly approaching April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine tragedy. Though we offer our heartfelt support to Florida, on this date, most of us thoughtfully reflect on our own history. In Jeffco, we have marked this time of year with positive acts – Columbine High School students participate in a day of service, doing volunteer work for a variety of community organizations and the entire district supports Day Without Hate, with events that promote inclusion and acceptance.

While the folks in Florida encouraged a demonstration of unified, national support through student walkouts, I request our schools and students consider honoring the memory of Columbine by following the lead of the Columbine community, which believes firmly in the motto, “A Time to Remember, a Time to Hope.” Coming together, giving back, and having a collective positive impact on our community has been a Jeffco tradition, and I hope we continue that tradition. My hope is if our students and staff feel the need to recognize the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy during the school day, it will be with acts of kindness and service in honor of the memory of those we have lost.

I know school violence elicits strong emotions, but our organizational commitment to educating the children in our community is paramount. As a district, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the political aspects school violence, to help our students learn about current events, and respectfully discuss issues. However, we also have a responsibility to be objective and refrain from taking a position on issues that may cause divisiveness in our community. I know this is a difficult balance, but I have faith we can be a voice of reason in Jeffco.

The National School Walkout website states:

National School Walkout is a movement powered and led by students across the country. We’re protesting congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence. America is the only country in the world where so many people are killed by guns, and yet our leaders do nothing about it. In many states, it’s more difficult to register to vote than it is to buy a rifle. Apparently to some politicians, a vote is scarier than a gun.

The National School Walkout website is planned for 10 a.m. Friday. The website shows walkouts taking place at hundreds of schools across the country.

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