On Wednesday, March 14th, students across the country are organizing a walkout for 17 minutes beginning at 10:00 am, in honor of the seventeen lives lost during the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to the organizers, the purpose of the walkout is to draw attention to the important issue of school safety, peace and kindness in schools, and the value of inclusion (Please see the attached Letter from Chancellor Farina)
Respecting students’ first amendment rights and freedom of speech and assembly, the faculty and administration at JHS 157 will not impede the efforts of those students who feel compelled to demonstrate their concern by walking out from class. However, the decision to walkout is one that should be made collaboratively between students and their parents. If you wish to allow your child to participate, please let them know. If you do not wish your child to participate, let them know as well.
That said, there are parameters that will be put into place in order to ensure a peaceful, respectful, and safe environment for all, whether participating or not. Please note the enforcement of the following expectations for students who choose to walk out from class at 10:00 am on March 14th for 17 minutes:
*Students must exit their classroom in a quiet and organized manner with no disruption to the learning environment of those choosing to remain in class.
*Students will go down to the cafeteria and must exit, quietly, from the CAFETERIA into the schoolyard ONLY.
*Students will assemble in the schoolyard. Students will not be permitted on the sidewalks or streets adjacent to our school. Students who “walkout” will be supervised by faculty and staff members in the school yard who are not otherwise occupied.
*Students must return to class at the conclusion of the walkout, entering only through the CAFETERIA. Students will return to their third period class upon the conclusion of the walkout.
*Parents, and all other visitors, will not be permitted in the building during the walkout. No students will be permitted to leave or enter the building from any other door except through the cafeteria
While we will not take away the opportunity for students to participate in the walkout, we are planning civics activities and conversations during 3rd period on Wednesday (the time of the walkout). All teachers scheduled to teach will remain in the classroom. Students who choose to remain in class will engage in a variety of planned activities, including reading about how adolescents have been calling for change, how teens have partnered with parents to have their voices heard, and how a pair of parents have been using a clothing line to foster social awareness in kids. These will all be followed by opportunities for the students themselves to creatively plan how they can have their own voices heard.
Students watch the video embedded in the NYTimes Web Page “A ‘Mass Shooting Generation’ Cries Out for Change”( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/us/columbine-mass-shootings.html) , then read the article itself. Students then brainstorm ideas and messages they would like to share with others, and add them to a class-generated chart (or charts).
Students read the article “Parkland Teens are Motivating Parents to Promise They’ll Vote for Their Safety Over Gun Rights,” (https://mic.com/articles/188336/parkland-teens-are-motivating-parents-to-promise-theyll-vote-for-their-safety-over-gun-rights) then discuss and list ideas for how they can partner with their parents to have their voices heard.
Students read about the “Little Activists” clothing line (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/little-activists-clothing-line-fosters-social-awareness-in-kids_us_58e6bed7e4b0ace57cc0ca5d) , then create their own designs to address any of the issues they feel affect students their age.
We will submit our plan to the 112th precinct Community Affairs Department and to the NYPD Division of School Safety, and we will request police presence at points around the perimeter of the yard so that we can have an additional layer of safety and supervision.
We are looking forward to a positive and productive school day of March 14th.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.
Principal JHS 157
Below is the letter to the Parents from the Chancellor in English, Spanish, Chinese, & Arabic: