Planning a school walk-out? It could be pricey

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BARABOO, Wis. - A local school walk-out is changing its plans after an idea to march to downtown Baraboo ended up costing students hundreds of dollars.

A number of local students are planning to walk out of their schools in tandem with thousands of others across the country, following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

In Baraboo, resident Jocelyn Miller helped students plan for the walk-out. They wanted to march downtown but soon learned that would require an event permit and event insurance – costs that quickly added up to more than $400, according to Miller.

“I spent 3 hours dealing with insurance companies online, and as soon as they found out this was a student rally and march related to gun safety and a school shooting, they said, ‘Oh sorry - that's too political, controversial, we don't cover that,’” Miller said.

Police chief Mark Schauf explains the need for such a permit.

“We have barricades and law enforcement available to make sure people are safe, and part of that is insurance so if anyone gets hurt the event is covered,” he said.

Instead, students will stay on campus, marching around the school track. That solves a safety problem for the chief.

“I don't have to worry about them crossing a state highway to get where they’re going, so making sure they’re in a spot where we can protect them is very important for us,” Schauf said.

From Miller’s perspective, the outcome is only ironic.

"First amendment rights require a permit and insurance,” she said. “Second amendment rights to carry a weapon do not require insurance."

The Baraboo School District let parents know about the walk-out. The district isn’t taking a stance on the issue, but officials are asking parents to call and excuse their child from school if they’re planning on participating. Classes will go on as normal.

Students in other schools have taken to crowdfunding to help pay for some of the expenses associated with walk-outs. Madison students organized a GoFundMe, raising more than $1,000 for their efforts.