TC Weber: MNPS Officials Arranged for 12,000 Nashville High School Students to Participate in Anti-Gun Walk-Ins on Monday

Apr 4, 2023

Live from Music Row, Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the education reporter for The Tennessee Star, TC Weber in studio to discuss how Metro Nashville Public School officials organized 12,000 high school students in Monday’s gun violence walk-out.

Leahy: We are so happy to have in our studio right now, our very good friend, our lead educational reporter here for The Tennessee Star. Also, the man who has the most widely read blog about education in Nashville. It’s been up for a long time. Dad Gone Wild.

Weber: Dad Gone Wild. And it’s interesting, I’m 12 posts away from a thousand posts—a decade of work.

Leahy: Very good. And very interesting stuff. TC, first, I’ll ask you some questions about the other protests that went on yesterday. The Metro Nashville Public Schools endorsed walk-ins. Now, as I understand it there were what, 12 high schools?

Weber: Twelve high schools.

Leahy: And all 12 of these conducted these walk-ins, right?

Weber: All 12 of ’em, as far as I know, participated.

Leahy: Describe what happened in the walk-in.

Weber: From my understanding was that students walked out at 10:13 [a.m.], which coincides with the time of the first police call on the tragic events from Monday. They walked back into the school, and then they went into separate rooms or a room and had an hour to talk about their feelings and the things that they wanted to see, and then the class participated in a normal manner.

Leahy: How many high school students participated in this, would you say?

Weber: That’s a hard guess. We got 80,000 students, I think of the 80,000 students in Metro, I don’t know, I would say 15,000 to 20,000.

Leahy: And then maybe a couple a thousand or so went to the state capitol.

Weber: Let’s dial it back. Say, maybe 12,000. Thirteen thousand kids.

Leahy: Twelve thousand kids.

Weber: Because the elementary schools are the biggest portion at 10.

Leahy: So at 10:13 [a.m.] here in Nashville, with the approval…

Weber: And the endorsement with a plan laid out.

Leahy: By Adrienne Battle and all these folks. About 12,000 kids still, let’s say a thousand kids per high school. They, at 10:13 [a.m.], walked out ceremoniously and then walked back in and then for an hour…

Weber: Or 30 minutes because they’ve already used up about an hour. The whole thing was supposed to last an hour. The whole thing lasted an hour.

Leahy: So for a period of time, they went into either a single room in each high school or multiple rooms. And there was a discussion. What were those discussions like? Was it like just a freeform get up and I want two minutes to talk about something or who moderated those discussions?

Weber: My understanding was it was different teachers or administrators throughout the building. And students were given a chance to share their thoughts, share how they thought, how they were impacted, and what they would like to see.

Many of the same things they would’ve shared at the rally if they had gone to the walk-in or the walk-out. It was moderated, I’m sure, in a manner that was respectful to everybody or considerate to everybody. And it was advertised as being student-led and student-driven and a student plan. (Leahy laughs)

Leahy: I’m laughing. (Laughs)

Weber: Oh, I chuckle about it too, because when the board and Dr. Battle talk about student leadership, they always reference the two students that are on the school board. And those students fill out a form and apply, and they’re chosen by the school board.

So whether they’re the actual leaders, I think every high school obviously can’t choose the leaders. The high school chooses its own leaders, and I’m not sure that these are the people that students in the high schools look to be leaders. But they’re who the adults look for as leaders.

Leahy: So it’s interesting because, to me, it looks like Dr. Adrienne Battle is making a whole series of political statements here and also influencing all of the high school students in Nashville.

Twelve thousand to 15,000 of them, either those who did the walk-ins or the walkouts and influencing them to a particular anti-gun control point of view. Here is her statement about this.

I understand and chair the frustration, anger, and fears that many of our students, staff, and families have expressed in recent days over the latest and closest in a long line of school shootings and, wait for it…the lack of meaningful action by lawmakers to address the epidemic of gun violence. That’s what she said. She’s at a school. My question to you, and this will be a hanging Chad, are you ready?

Weber: Oh, a hanging, Chad. We are dating ourselves right now.

Leahy: When we come back. Did any of the 12,000 or so Nashville Metro, Nashville High School students who were involved in these protests, walk-ins, and walkouts yesterday express support for the Second Amendment and if they did, how did their peers and their teachers and their administrators respond? There’s your hanging, Chad.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “TC Weber” by Thomas “TC” Weber for MNPS District 2 School Board. Background Photo “Classroom” by Wokandapix.