In response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, citizens across the United States, in a sign of solidarity, are eager to show their support for the victims (and their loved ones) of gun violence. With a desire to evoke change, organizers are encouraging students, educators, and supporters to walk out of school for 17 minutes in a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday, March 14th, at 10AM. I have received a number of questions from staff regarding how to support teachers if/when our students elect to participate in this well-publicized event.
Here are some suggestions/considerations as we balance our efforts and responsibilities to uphold district attendance policies and the First Amendment rights of our staff and students to participate:
- Create a safe space on campus for students and staff to assemble
- Empower student leaders to coordinate experiences
- Facilitate grade-level appropriate discussions (if comfortable doing so)
- Recognize and accommodate students’ rights to not participate
- Remind students to honor the cause, to be responsible, to remain on campus, and that attendance will be taken before and after the demonstration
- Principals will outline site-specific protocols/expectations
As an educator, it is inspiring to see the youth across our nation mobilize and demand action. Students have embraced their influence and civic duty and are acting with both purpose and agency. We are fortunate to work in a profession which affords opportunities to guide and learn from the passions and drive of our future leaders.
Our community values your investment in the physical and emotional well-being of our students; thank you for all that you do to keep our students feeling safe and connected while in our care.
Karl J Mueller
Coronado Unified School District