Letter to parents of Alderwood Middle School students regarding Thursday’s student protest

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Edmonds School DistrictThe following letter from Principal Erin Murphy was sent to parents of children at Alderwood Middle School regarding Thursday’s protest by some students:

May 21, 2015

Dear Alderwood Middle Families –

Some of you may have heard, but I want to share with you what occurred at school today. I want you to have accurate information, as well as knowledge of what actions staff and I took in helping guide students with some difficult issues. Additionally, I want to provide you with what steps we have in place for tomorrow.

We had approximately 100 students who made the decision to not go to class today in order  to demonstrate. The participating students cited various reasons for their actions but the predominant message was about equity and race issues not just at Alderwood, but in society in general. We have worked and collaborated with students and clubs on best ways to bring awareness to these very important issues. These students chose to not go to class today as the method of bringing that awareness.

As an administration, we instructed students to return to class. When students elected not to, we took steps to make sure students were safe by calling parents, supervising participants, and finding space for them. At the same time, we took steps to protect the learning environment for the students who were in classes. Our expectation is that school will be in session normally tomorrow and students will go to class. If students do not go to class their parents will be contacted to come pick them up.

While, this demonstration was not sponsored or endorsed by the school, issues of inequity and discrimination are real and need to be addressed.  We are aware that there were some difficult moments today, and we are taking those reports seriously and appropriate actions will be taken.

Prior to their decision to stage a demonstration today, we have been meeting with about 10-15 of the students over the last several weeks to listen to their concerns and to develop plans to address those concerns.  We have been optimistic about this important work and are committed to continuing to have an open dialogue with students and families. We will continue to keep you updated on this work and are committed to the creation of a supportive learning environment at Alderwood Middle School.

Sincerely,

Erin Murphy
Principal
Alderwood Middle School

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