PUNTA GORDA, Fla. -- Charlotte County schools honored the Parkland victims a little differently than the rest of the country Wednesday morning.
They actually called it a memorial celebration rather than a walkout.
In a typical school walkout you would see numerous students outside of the school. But instead, Charlotte County held a moment of silence inside each school. A quiet somber moment to reflect on the tragedy that took 17 innocent lives.
At Charlotte High School, Fox 4 was told that media was not allowed anywhere inside during the moment of silence. However, we got a glimpse of what took place.
Every county high school had 17 empty chairs set up on campus. Charlotte High School also had balloons, and students had the option to go there and reflect.
We saw hundreds of students who participated.
At 10:00 Wednesday morning, all classes stopped for 17 minutes. During that time, they read each of the 17 Parkland victims’ names out loud in the courtyard.
The school district’s spokesperson Mike Riley tells Fox 4 that not every student had to participate in this. It was not mandatory.
As for the county's elementary and middle schools, they also held a moment of silence, but those students remained inside their classrooms.
Riley says that school administrators and student government leaders worked together to come with this plan. And he says this plan was the safest way so no students were outside wandering around and it was also the best way to honor the Parkland victims.
After the 17 minutes were over, classes resumed as normal.