Hearing Our Students’ Voices

Dear Parents/Guardians,                                                                             March 8, 2018

I would like to share with you a summary of three national protests being planned across the country in response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Please note that these protests do not represent all of the events that may be scheduled in our community.

March 14th – Enough: National School Walkout. Organizers are encouraging teachers, students, administrators, and others to walk out of class for 17 minutes (one minute for each person killed at the school) beginning at 10:00 a.m.

March 24th – March for Our Lives protest in Washington DC and other cities, including San Francisco and San Jose. Additional protests might be held in San Mateo County. Organized by students from Parkland, Florida, “March for Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar.”

April 20th – National High School Walk-Out for Anti-Gun Violence. Student-organized walkout commemorating the 19th anniversary of the Columbine campus shooting. Some organizers are calling for students to stay out of school until “their demands are met” (i.e. gun laws are changed).

We are not planning any events for grades K – 5 on these days.  Teachers may take some time for reflection, however, we will not be doing any formal event for this age group.  We are focusing any and all events toward our middle school population who has expressed some interest in some type of activity.

In advance of March 14th,  I will meet with students to discuss how we as a community want to remember the students and staff members killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. While we expect students to remain on campus that day, we may interrupt scheduled teaching at 10:00 a.m. for this special event or set of activities. I will keep you informed of our plans once we have discussed this with our students and developed a plan.  Because we want to ensure that we respect all students, if someone chooses not to participate, we can allow them that choice.  Since our top concern is student safety, we expect students to remain on campus. However, we cannot prevent them from leaving, and should they decide to leave, we will not be able to ensure their safety.

Since March 24th is a Saturday, we will not be organizing any school events for that day.

As for April 20th, we expect students to attend and remain in school because this event focuses primarily on high schools.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Tom Stafford