Students protesting in walkout may be part of herd mentality, educator says

With Michigan students expected to walk out of class to call for gun reform Wednesday, some argue those who walk are part of a herd mentality while others argue their sincerity.

Students all over Michigan are expected to walk out of class for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. - an outgrowth of the 17 shooting deaths in a Florida school two weeks ago.

"We're all a little concerned and will be relieved when tomorrow is over," says Brian Whiston, state school superintendent.

Michigan educators are working with local law enforcement to make sure the students are safe.

"Each district is working with their local law enforcement and with the school staff to try to make sure as much as possible the students are safe. That is our major responsibility," said Chris Wigent of the School Administrators Association.

The state school superintendent says he hopes the demonstrations stay inside the school and not in the streets.

Meanwhile on another front, the co-president of the state board of education is not so sure the students aren't being influenced by adults who are anti-guns.

"When adults organize activates and take time off from the regular school day, I guess I question how does that fit into our curriculum? Are we really doing our young people a favor and modeling adult behavior?" said Dr. Richard Zeile.

Dr. Zeile says he would be more comfortable if there wasn't a walk out and thinks some students may be susceptible to "a herd mentality."

"There is a certain herd instinct among students and it’s in the public at large. I think students are particularly vulnerable to that," he said.

But based on what he has seen, the state school superintendent concludes the students are frustrated and want to be heard.

"This is a genuine outreach by students who are frustrated and want to be heard. ... The impression I get is in most places it's being driven by student leaders," Whitson said.

Gov. Rick Snyder reports he will have recommendations on the school gun safety questions within three weeks or so.

"I appreciate their interest in participating in a civil process of communicating their concerns," he said.