Students from Edmonds School District schools are expected to join the National School Walkout planned for 17 minutes starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14, organized to mark one month since the school shootings in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead.
Leaving class during the 17-minute time frame may cause some students to be late to class, Jakala said. Those students will be marked as tardy or absent but — as with any student absence — parents/guardians have the option of excusing their student after the fact, she added.
“It’s a family permission-based thing,” Jakala said. “This will be the choice of the family.”
Teachers will be asked to supervise, if necessary, to ensure student safety but will not be active participants in any walkouts that occur, she added.
The district last week posted on its website the following statement to families regarding the possibility of student walkouts connected to the Florida shootings:
Dear Edmonds School District Families –
The recent tragic events in Parkland, Florida have highlighted for us all the importance of school safety and have contributed to the national discourse about gun violence and taking more proactive steps to improve school safety. As we reflect on these events, our hearts go out to the victims, families, students and staff in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community.
One of the outcomes of this incident is the need that many of our students feel to give voice to their concerns and to take some kind of action to help prevent future incidents of school violence. Walkout protests by students are happening across our nation, in our state, and even in our local communities. We wanted to let you know that we are aware of the potential for student walkouts in our schools.
Demonstrations like these are an expression of students’ free speech rights and as such, we are obliged to respect students’ choice to exercise their rights. During these kinds of demonstrations, we do expect that school staff will be present to monitor students to ensure their safety and to also ensure that there is not a disruption to the learning environments in our schools. But to be clear, these demonstrations are not school or district sponsored. Students who participate do so voluntarily. Furthermore, just as the rights of students to participate in protests are respected, we also respect the rights of students who choose not to participate in any kind of student-organized protests.
One of the most important lessons we can teach our students is what it means to be meaningfully engaged citizens. Allowing students to be passionate about our country and democracy is a powerful learning experience, AND allowing students to make their own choices about how to engage in our democracy is an equally powerful learning experience. While students may choose to participate in protests, we want to reassure everyone that our schools will be functioning normally and we will work to maintain effective learning environments, and we expect our staff members to support ALL students — those who do participate and those who do not participate.
We encourage you to have conversations with your students about these important issues and what it means to choose to participate in a walkout or not. Please do not hesitate to contact your student’s school if you have questions or concerns.