From our town’s K-4 principal on March 9:
The recent tragedy in Parkland, FL and the inspiring advocacy of the Stoneman Douglas students have prompted the [Happy Valley] Public Schools to plan learning opportunities at our schools. Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00 is a National ‘Walk Out of School’ event for schools across the country. Some schools are using this time as a way to raise awareness about school safety or as a time for remembrance. As K-4 educators, we know that it is not developmentally appropriate to talk with our students about gun violence, specific events like Parkland, or the politics associated with these issues. Additionally, we recognize that many families do not want these complex topics to be a part of their children’s world yet and prefer that introductions to these topics take place at home.
Therefore, the Happy Valley School K-4 plans will be focused on peace, kindness, and our CARES values – Cooperation, Advocacy/Ask, Respect, Empathy, and Safety.
A few questions…
- Is this the first time that bureaucrats running a school have sponsored a “walk out of school” event?
- What are the Stoneman Douglas students advocating, specifically, that is “inspiring” to school administrators in Massachusetts?
- Given that our country is now packed full of mutually antagonistic people, at what age is it developmentally appropriate to disclose to children that one thing that Americans like to do is kill fellow Americans?
Readers: What happened in your corner of the U.S.?
[Our schools actually went above and beyond today, closing for the entire scheduled four-hour block (teachers need to have a short schedule every Wednesday). It might have been due to the nearly two feet of snow that fell yesterday rather than a passion for raising awareness.]
[Update: Our school rescheduled the walkout for the next day. Here’s the email from the principal…
Because of the snow day yesterday, our students opted to walk out today.
About 100-150 students, across the grades from 5-8, exited the building at 10:00 a.m. Student council read names and brief pieces of information about each of the 17 people who were killed in Parkland, FL. The names were interspersed with poems, moments of silence, and one impassioned plea to end gun violence. At about 10:19 our students quietly filed into class and resumed their learning.
The building was calm inside and learning continued to happen. Adults were in classrooms, hallways, and outside with students giving the support that was necessary for all of our students to be safe. Thank you for preparing your students to make decisions that were right for them. We appreciate your support.
So this was roughly 50 percent of the students. It was a beautiful sunny day so I can’t figure out why it wasn’t 100 percent. Why would students elect to remain imprisoned in their classrooms rather than be outside in the fresh 40-degree air?
Note that there was no snow “yesterday” (Wednesday). It had stopped snowing at roughly 7 pm the night before (Tuesday), but at least some people were still digging out.]