School districts in Shawnee County should be commended for allowing students to engage in walkouts, including a national event scheduled Wednesday in response to the recent school shooting at Parkland, Fla.

District officials who spoke to The Capital-Journal for a story in Monday’s edition concurred that safety for the students was considered a primary issue. Measures, they said, will be taken to find safe locations and supervision during the walkout.

Demonstrations throughout the country are scheduled to last 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims murdered in the mass shooting a month earlier at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School.

One of the most encouraging steps taken by school administrators planning for Wednesday’s marches was arranged at Shawnee Heights High School. Marty Stessman, superintendent of USD 450, said opportunities for group discussions will be provided for Shawnee Heights students to speak on the issue of school safety and efforts needed to make schools safer.

Any attempt to stimulate meaningful dialogue is helpful as long as administrators allow students to engage. The resolve exhibited by students survivors of the Parkland massacre has emboldened the #NeverAgain movement. …

Obviously, high school students throughout the country want to get involved after watching their peers emerge from the crosshairs of the Florida shooting to take a strong stance on America’s gun culture.

High school students are fearful since they are on the front lines of the gun violence that has gripped this country and become far too prevalent in public settings.

Security measures are important steps toward improving school safety.

Republican leadership in the Kansas House recently outlined a plan for $5 million in allocations for security upgrades in the state’s public schools. The funding will be distributed as grants or matching funds to schools for improved facilities and training. …

The walkout on Wednesday provides an opportunity. The public will be watching, and listening, not only in coastal metropolitan settings but also in the nation’s heartland, right here in Shawnee County.

Do not be surprised if Kansas high school students gain the momentum to unify and find the steps of the State Capitol another place to raise their voices and broaden their movement. They deserve that opportunity and they deserve to be heard.

— GateHouse Kansas