Student walkouts and civic engagement…

In response to the Parkland school shooting, students across the country have organized walk-outs and other forms of civic engagement.

In many districts, a walk-out is being promoted for Wednesday, March 14, at 10:00 a.m. in solidarity support of school safety.

Shenendehowa cannot condone students walking out of school for any reason. However, as an educational institution, we realize the benefit of real life opportunities for civic engagement and teachable moments that encourage and challenge students to exercise their right to free speech and advocacy.

The high school and middle school administrators have been working with student groups to plan events that provide students an opportunity to advocate in a safe and supervised way. The goal is to keep it as a learning and unifying event focused on productive ways to improve school safety, while respectfully allowing for and accepting of differing political views.

At the high school…

March 14: Student leaders are determined to focus their efforts on the April 20th event and will not be organizing a walk-out. Instead, the high school will be making announcements this week about Parkland including honoring the 17 victims. Students will be asked to build connections by saying “hello” to at least 17 new people and making 17 people smile. At 10 a.m. there will be a moment of silence. Parkland will be recognized and each of the victims’ names will be read by a student. The Senate is looking to have a banner printed at Staples with the Shen logo and a message for Parkland that students can sign at lunch.

After April Break: The SFA Senate will be organizing a Speak-out about school safety.

April 19: The Board of Education has a public forum on school safety scheduled. Students are being encouraged to speak.

April 20: Two events tentatively planned…

  1. Towards the end of the day, students who wish to participate will go to the football field for an assembly.  Students will organize a booth for voter registration, a booth outlining who our elected officials are and how local and state leaders are organized to represent. A memorial for victims of school shootings since Columbine will be displayed. It will culminate in an opportunity to create a “human message,” students organized into a united Shen message that can be filmed/photographed by a drone.
  2. An afterschool Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Student Senate. Local/state/national officials along with the Superintendent and Board of Education will be invited to be on the panel for the Town Hall.

At the middle schools…

March 14: At 10:00 am the middle school will be addressing, via the PA system, current safety practices, focusing on communication and kindness, as well as holding a moment of silence to recognize the 17 victims that lost their lives in Parkland, Florida. Students and staff will be encouraged to wear Shenendehowa apparel (green/white) to show Shen pride and solidarity on March 14.

As a school district, there is a clear recognition that school safety is a community responsibility and the work is continuous.

As always we appreciate your concern and support. If you have any questions regarding the planned events, please contact your child’s principal.