Area schools are expecting varying degrees of student participation as part of a planned nationwide school walkout today (Wednesday). The student-driven movement is being held on the one-month anniversary of the mass killing at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The walk out is planned for 17 minutes - one minute for each life lost that day. Some area schools are allowing students to freely walk out of class that day, while Dr. John Pearson, Superintendent at East Alton - Wood River High School tells The Big Z they are one of the schools allowing students to participate if they have signed permission slip:

Click here for Pearson's comments

At Bethalto's Civic Memorial High School, students will convene in the gymnasium, and immediately following, will be addressed by Bethalto Police with updated training on what to do in the midst of a crisis. At Alton High School, students have the option of quietly exiting the building through either the front or auditorium doors.  Those who do not participate will remain in their classrooms. Student leaders at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton have be allowed to plan a short prayer service in the gym open to other students who wish to attend. 

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /