Thursday, April 19, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On the National WalkOut Tomorrow along w/A Series of Gunfortunate Events

Trevor Noah, once again, reflected upon a current event--this about the pending school walkout tomorrow to protest gun violence.    The Principal of our Hometown High School sent out guidance to the Aliso Niguel Community that is worth noting as it is critical to note that the challenge continues to persist due to the inaction by the Congress of the United States:

Dear Wolverine Families, 
As you may be aware, some national organizers are again calling for a student walkout – during school hours tomorrowFriday, April 20th.  This walkout is reportedly intended to call attention to school violence and issues of gun control.  According to the information we have, students are first being asked to leave class at approximately 10:00 for thirteen minutes (in memory of the 13 students who died in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999), and then to also leave campus for the remainder of the day and attend various community protest events.  We ask for your support in reminding students that they should NOT ever leave campus without first following proper attendance callout procedures.  Our district communications office in March previously sent all CUSD families and staff a letter outlining important information and key points, which will again serve as the foundation for what we will do at ANHS if we have students who choose to participate in this walkout.
While we deeply value each and every one of our student's voices, we are not sponsoring nor endorsing participation in this or any demonstration. However, our student's safety will always be our highest priority and we have a plan to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our students safe in the event they choose to walk out. Below you will find guidelines that we will be following at ANHS, many of which were outlined in the previous communication from me and our district office.
  • We will direct any students who choose to walk out to a supervised location on campus; students should NOT leave campus for any reason.
  • Students do who leave campus without first following proper attendance callout procedures will be marked truant and subject to disciplinary consequences.
  • If a student chooses to walk out of class they will not be prohibited or blocked from doing so in any way.
  • Students will not be forced or pressured to participate in the walkout by any teacher or school employee.
  • We ask that all students, regardless of whether they choose to participate or not, are respectful of each other's choices and views and continue to help make ANHS a safe, supportive, and accepting community for all students.
As always, thank you for your support of our students and school. 
Deni Christensen - Principal

Excerpt from previous District Communications sent in March:
While CUSD supports the rights of our students to express their beliefs under the state and federal First Amendment rights, as a District we are not sponsoring or advocating any participation in demonstrations. Supporting the remarks by the California State PTA, “care must be taken to ensure that orderly operation of the school is not disrupted and the physical safety of students is not threatened.” We have all agreed that our focus will remain on instruction and learning and to keep students safe in classrooms.  
If students walk out of their classrooms or the school, we will supervise and will work with our campuses to strongly encourage that these activities take place in the safest locations possible. Because this is a highly publicized known day to strangers, we continue to reinforce that the safest place to be is in the classroom. ​We do not encourage students to congregate in open areas putting themselves at risk and we expect our students to follow the guidance of our principals and staff to ensure safety. In accordance with state law, we will not discipline students who choose to assemble, provided they adhere to District and school guidelines including, but not limited to:
  • All activities must be peaceful and respectful.
  • At no time may students leave the campus.
  • Additionally, a student may be marked truant if they do not return to the classroom or if they leave the campus. 

We continue to encourage parents to have a conversation with their students and to make their own expectations clear about participating in student demonstrations and these non-school sponsored activities. Principals and school staff who have been approached by students should continue to talk with them about this matter and maintain open lines of communication with parents.

To further support a safe campus environment, outside groups, parents/guardians, and other individuals who do not have official school business will not be allowed on campus to participate in the walkouts. As part of our normal operations, anyone visiting school campuses for school-related matters or for volunteer work must check in with the front office.  
We are committed to the safety of all of our students and desire to assure staff, families, and students that our site staff will work tirelessly to create a positive, supportive learning environment on all of our campuses in the event of any student demonstrations.

Our priority is student learning and safety. What we expect this month from our students will ensure that our students understand future expectations, as many other walkouts are being planned nationally. 

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