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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

I want to thank you all in advance for your leadership and support as we prepare for a significant moment in our District. Last month, I publicly announced that the District would support students who are interested in planning an organized demonstration during the upcoming national school walkout day on April 19.

Without question, the safety of our students and schools will always be our top priority; achievement is impossible without it. Seeing our students stand up and speak up for school safety has been incredibly impressive, and we simply cannot ignore their voice.

I’ve personally met with high school student leaders from SCS and neighboring school districts, and I agreed to give our students the ability to plan and lead peaceful activities in their schools. In turn, we agreed student leaders will work directly with principals to ensure April 19 is a safe, peaceful and productive experience for all students who want to be involved. Students who choose not to participate will be able to opt out of activities.

Internally, department leaders have met numerous times to ensure proper precautions are in place for security and school operations on April 19, including testing requirements, class schedules and nutrition services. Therefore, I feel assured these activities will not cause any significant concerns or disruptions.

This is new ground for our District, but I believe this is an opportunity to do something powerful. It’s an important teachable moment, and helping students learn how to channel their voices and actions to bring attention to the issues and initiatives they are most passionate about will certainly help to strengthen our schools and community.

Given all the local and national attention surrounding the student walkout, I felt it was important for all staff to have a good understanding of our plans. Here are some additional key messages.

Again, I appreciate you all for doing everything possible in your role to make April 19 a safe and productive day for our students.