Letter to families concerning national school walkouts

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As principals of Schuylerville Middle School and Schuylerville High School, we are reaching out about an issue that is important to us all: our students and their safety. The events that unfolded on Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, were tragic. Our hearts and our thoughts go out to the victims, their families and all of those facing unimaginable grief at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

This incident has prompted a variety of responses across the nation. One of the responses that is gaining much attention has come from students themselves. Some groups of students across the country are planning national events to walk out of schools in protest in the aftermath of the shooting in Florida.

We certainly understand that students have strong feelings about this issue. One of our goals as an educational institution is to prepare students to participate as constructive citizens in a democratic society. With that in mind, we have scheduled several activities at the middle and high school level to give our students an opportunity to meaningfully show their compassion for what happened in Florida and voice their concerns, without the safety and security risk of students leaving during the day.

If a student chooses to walk out, he or she will face the same consequence as any other instance in which he or she were to leave class in the middle of the day without an excused note. The student will be disciplined according to the Student Code of Conduct.

We would prefer that students participate in something meaningful at the school level, rather than posing a larger safety risk. That’s why we’re trying to be proactive, to give students a safer alternative so it doesn’t become a discipline issue. Below is an outline of the events we have planned.

Middle School:
  • Thursday, March 8, 10th period, MS Library: Open roundtable for students and staff to discuss issues related to school safety and positive school climate.
  • Wednesday, March 14:
    • A moment of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting.
    • “Kindness Counts” day. Students will have the opportunity to create positive quotes on a Padlet, which will then be displayed on a flat screen in the Main Lobby. Students will be encouraged to do “Random Acts of Kindness” throughout the day. Some quotes will also be read throughout the day over the PA.
    • 10th period, MS Library: Open roundtable for students and staff to discuss issues related to school safety and positive school climate.
High School:
  • The high school will continue its reading of a positive quote during the morning announcements every day for 17 days.
  • Thursday, March 8, 10th period, HS Library: Open roundtable for students and staff to discuss reactions and feelings toward the events at Stoneman Douglas High School and school safety.
  • Wednesday, March 14:
    • A moment of silence for the victims of the Florida shooting.
    • 10th period, HS Library: Open roundtable for students and staff to discuss reactions and feelings toward the events at Stoneman Douglas High School and school safety.

We have a wonderful, caring school community and students who are concerned about what is going on in our country. While we want to support our students as they find ways to voice their concerns, we also must do our part to ensure their safety while they are in our care. As always, thank you for your continued support of our students and our schools.

Sincerely,

Mary Kate Elsworth
Principal, Schuylerville Middle School

James Ducharme
Principal, Schuylerville High School