The St. Clair R-XIII School Board decided against letting high school students participate in the National School Walkout scheduled for Wednesday, March 14.
Schools across the country will participate in the peaceful protest scheduled for 10 a.m. The event will last 17 minutes to honor the 17 students and staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day.
A letter from Superintendent Kyle Kruse to students, parents and staff, dates Monday, March 12, from, said the school board recently met to discuss possible effects the walkout would have on school operations.
Following are points that were talked about at the meeting, which are noted in the letter:
“These events are being promoted nationally and are very political in nature. The recommendation that all students exit school buildings on a specified date and time is concerning in terms of student safety and security.
“Schools and other government entities are prohibited from viewpoint discrimination. The organizers of the walkouts are promoting a specific point of view on a political issue.
“Students and staff with different political beliefs would have to have an equal opportunity to express their point of view. Allowing one group to conduct a protest/demonstration, but not another, would raise legal issues for the district.
“Students and staff do not have a First Amendment right to disrupt the school day for political advocacy.”
Kruse’s letter continues to state that students, faculty and staff who participate in the walkout will be considered absent without permission and regular disciplinary procedures will be followed.
“The safety of students is our highest priority and we have instituted a number of measures to ensure our schools are safe and secure,” Kruse stated in the letter.
“We will continue with these measures and will continue our work to provide students with a safe, secure learning environment,” he said. “If students have concerns, comments, thoughts or suggestions about school safety, we encourage them to speak with a teacher, counselor or principal. We want to make sure their concerns are heard and addressed.”
Kruse expressed gratitude for the continued support of the district. For questions or more information, contact Kruse at 636-629-3500.
Washington High School students have organized a peaceful assembly to honor those who died in the Florida school shooting.
The Network for Public Education is organizing another similar protest for April 20 called National Day of Action Against Gun Violence in Schools. April 20 marks the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.