A Conversation to Have With Your Kid / National School Walkout Day

Dear Parents,

Many of you may already know that there is a National School Walkout Day planned for March 14th. Students around the country are planning to walk out — both in memory of the students who died in recent school shootings and as an attempt to raise awareness about school safety issues.

Here at Salem Middle School, a group of eighth grade students have been working to plan a walkout for our campus. They have been thoughtful in their planning and have had their plans reviewed and approved by our administration. They are also working to advertise the event both in social media spaces that your students may be a part of and through posters hanging in the hallways of our building.

Here are the details:

(1). The walkout will begin at 10:00 AM on March 14th and will last for 17 minutes. Students will gather outside for moments of silence and speeches that are planned and delivered by student leaders. When the event is over, participating students will return to their classrooms.

(2). Students who choose to participate in the event have to sign up in advance in the Student Services office.

(3). Regular classes will not, however, be cancelled as a result of the event. Teachers will continue to teach their lessons even after participating students have left the room. That’s because this is not an official school event. Students who do not participate will just continue with their lessons in their regular classrooms with their teachers.

(4). Administration and other school personnel will be present to make sure that participating students are safe and acting respectfully.

(5). School staff members are deliberately remaining neutral. They are not encouraging students to attend the walkout OR preventing students from attending either.

I would ask that you sit down with your child at some point this weekend and decide whether or not you want them to participate. If your child chooses to participate, please encourage them to treat the moment with the respect that it deserves.

My hope is that all of the 6-4 students who decide to participate will use the event as something more than a chance to get out of class for twenty minutes! If they do, it could be a really powerful learning experience. If not, it just ends up being wasted time. Most of that will be determined by the conversations, coaching and expectations that you set with your child when discussing whether or not you are willing to let them participate.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Bill Ferriter