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Mercer County High students will face consequences if they demonstrate for gun control

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ALEDO, Illinois - Students faced the Mercer County School Board with a message that they say strikes at the core of their education.

"We're just looking for something to be done, where we'll feel safe in the place we've been taught to be felt safe since first grade," said Cal Bigham, a student at the meeting.

Some students at Mercer County High School want to walk out of class this Wednesday, March 14th at 10 a.m. to peacefully protest for change and to honor the 17 people  killed in the Parkland school shooting.

"The thought runs through my mind every time I go to school is that it could have been me, it could have been my friend, it could have been my lab partner," said Taylor Boydston, another student at the event.

Board members are pushing back, and they say they'll enforce the rules. Students who walk out will be docked with an unexcused absence, their grade in the class they miss will be lowered for this quarter, and they'll be banned from evening practices or events. It can also impact their standing in the National Honor Society.

"I could possibly be kicked out of student council and lose my graduation speech," said Boydston.

Board members say they commend the students for standing up for a cause.

"I believe in everything that you believe in," said Tyson Dillavou, board member.

However, they say they need to look at the safety of all students.

"The ability to guarantee the safety of the students diminishes when they go outside," said Barb Chiles, board member.

A few board members suggested a compromise, making the walkout an excused absence but the vote failed with four out of six members voting no.

"We're willing to be punished for what we believe in," said Bigham.

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