Dear Parents and Guardians of Students of the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District,
The school shooting that took place in Parkland, Florida, which resulted in 17 students and staff losing their lives has rocked schools across the nation. As many schools grapple with the aftermath, students, staff, and community members are demanding action to help stop school violence. A number of local, state, and nationwide movements have been spurred as a result.
The CGBSD administration is aware of events that are planned around the country and in Wisconsin in response to the Florida shooting and the national conversation that has unfolded. A great deal of attention is currently focused on a national student “ walkout” scheduled for March 14, 2018, the one month anniversary of the Florida shootings scheduled for 10:00 am for a duration of 17 minutes; one minute for each life lost at Stoneman Douglas High School. The walkout was organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER in response to gun violence plaguing our schools.
The administration has been working to determine how best to balance the competing considersations of the walkout while striving to maintain an environment that facilitates student learning and discussion. Maintaining orderly school operations to ensure that school district policies and state law are followed is a part of balancing student interests and their rights with their safety and security.
The administration will be facilitating students’ ability to participate in discussions surrounding the planned walkout by creating alternate, school-sanctioned events/activities that would perhaps make a greater impact than our students versus walking out of school. The high school administration will be meeting with student leaders to solicit their ideas and discuss potential alternative activities that support personal and political expression. The middle school administration will be working with staff to plan alternate activities for middle school students.
Students who are absent for part or the full day on March 14, 2018 will be excused as long as parent permission has been granted and the school office has been notified. Students who are absent for part or the full day on March 14, 2018 without parent permission will be unexcused and are expected to be and remain at school. Each respective school will follow the established attendance procedures for those students with an unexcused absence.
My interest is striking a fair balance between promoting student political expression and freedom of speech with the need for loyalty to the institutional framework of education within our schools. By providing alternate, productive, safe, and meaningful methods of expression, students can learn to thrive and find their voice, with the support and protection of adults behind them.
For the Students of CGBSD,
Superintendent, Jeanne Courneene, PhD