Winchester, IN – Students at Driver Middle School were surprised surprised to learn that their local newspaper wrote an article about them walking out to “demand action on gun violence.” However, the alleged walk-out never happened.
Students at Driver Middle School had a fire drill on Wednesday, which forced them to stand outside in the snow. During the fire drill, officials called for a 17 second moment of silence for the Parkland shooting victims.
The next day, The Winchester News-Gazette published a story which claimed:
Students at Driver Middle School in Winchester, Randolph Southern and Union City were among young people in the “tens of thousands” who walked out of school Wednesday to demand action on gun violence.
The biggest display of student solidarity here seemed to come at Driver Middle School, where as many as 100 students braved chilly temperatures to leave class for 17 minutes — one in honor of each student killed during the recent tragedy in Florida.
Parents and students took to social media to express their anger.
The News Gazette responded by making comments in a Facebook post saying, “We want to get this story straight. The headline incorrectly reports that this was a “walkout.” In fact it was merely 17 second observance to remember the students who were killed in Parkland and also to stress the importance of school safety. The short observance coincided with a planned fire drill. So this was not a protest about gun violence or gun control. With this being said, no one’s values were compromised by being involved. The News-Gazette regrets use of the word “walkout” and we plan a followup story explaining the real meaning of this student activity.”
Blue Lives Matter Editor’s Note: We understand that mistakes happen. We’ve made mistakes before. After mistakes are made it generally involves correcting the incorrect information and issuing a notice of correction. However, while the newspaper noted their plan to do a follow-up, they seem to have no problem keeping their false report from spreading.
The false report is still up on their website with no note that the information is inaccurate.
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Many parents voiced that they were unhappy, not just with the false report, but that a news photographer “coincidentally” just happened to be at the school during a fire drill which “coincidentally” happened to be taking place during the national gun walk-out time.
The News Gazette insists that they weren’t called to the school by any official, and that they just showed up to see if there were any protesters.
On Facebook, the newspaper said, “We went to the school to see if there were going be any protestors [sic] when students began coming outside. When we called school officials yesterday we were told to contact the superintendent for any remarks about this situation. He was out of town. We specifically asked about the protest that took place and that we had a picture of the students standing outside. No one from the school corrected or told us until after the story had ran that it was actually a planned fire drill.”
Do you think that the school set these students up to unknowingly participate in a protest? We’d like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.