Important Message: Working Together During Student Protests

March 10, 2018 - As you may have read or heard, the morning of Wednesday, March 14, 2018, has been identified as a day for nationwide, student-led, civic engagement efforts; more specifically, school walkouts. As a school district, we are neither promoting nor supporting the events scheduled for this date; however, after speaking with students at our middle schools and high schools, we anticipate some students in our secondary schools may wish to participate in the walkout. Further, we believe a walkout is not developmentally appropriate for our elementary students, and we are counting on parents and families to discuss this issue with their children in an age-appropriate manner.

With school safety guiding our efforts, I want to provide you and our students with some basic information to consider prior to Wednesday. First and foremost, it is essential that any type of student action or rally is conducted in a safe, orderly, and organized fashion. One of the District's main safety concerns with this event is that students are being encouraged to leave school and gather outside at a specified time. This plan raises operational safety concerns and opens participants to an added level of risk. I have advised our middle school and high school principals to speak with students about their plans for March 14th and to consider creating a supervised, safe, and secure area inside their buildings, such as the auditorium, for those students who wish to participate in the walkout. Furthermore, as a means of mitigating some potential risks, we are working closely with local law enforcement to keep them abreast of what we are hearing, and beginning at 9:45 a.m., our middle school and high school campuses will be closed to any entry from outside visitors, as well as any exiting from students and visitors on campus. Campuses will remain closed until 10:30 a.m., after participating students have returned to their classrooms.

If students choose to participate in a walkout, they must participate in a peaceful manner. Any student demonstrating disrespectful behavior that disrupts school operations or threatens school safety will face the appropriate consequences. Instruction will continue during this time, therefore, students will be required to complete any missed assignments resulting from their time out of the classroom. As is the case on any other school day, students will not be permitted to leave the school grounds without being properly signed out by a parent following procedures outlined in the student handbook.

If parents choose to keep their students home or attend another event on Wednesday, the absence will be excused, as long as students provide the proper documentation and follow procedures outlined in the student handbook.

Please take time this weekend to talk with your child regarding his or her thoughts and feelings surrounding this issue and the importance of expressing himself or herself in an appropriate manner while at school. If you have questions after speaking with your child, I encourage you to contact your school's principal.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Sincerely,

Todd B. Stoltz, Ed.D.
Superintendent

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