Many Boston Public School students are expected to participate in a nationwide 17-minute walkout on March 14th -- the one-month anniversary of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In Boston, public schools are holding the "BPS Day of Observance: #Enough," which will include classroom-based activities to provide students opportunities to express their feelings, views and concerns.
Students or their parents may choose to opt out of participating in the events -- if a parent provides a written note or email.
Superintendent Tommy Chang informed BPS parents about the planned walkout and day of observance through a letter. While he recognizes that students will choose to walkout and leave schools grounds, with some heading to the State House to participate in a planned protest, he also encouraged students to remain at schools and participate in the scheduled events. Below is Chang's letter:
Dear Boston Public Schools Families:
The survivors of the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have ignited a gun-control movement that is sweeping our nation.
On Wednesday, March 14 —the one-month anniversary of the school shooting — students, teachers, and others from across the country plan to participate in a 17-minute “walkout” to honor the 17 victims from Parkland. The event is also intended to urge Congress to adopt common-sense measures to help prevent the gun violence that is plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.
It has come to our attention that a number of Boston Public Schools (BPS) students would like to participate in this national walkout. BPS believes strongly in the importance of student voice and student advocacy on issues that matter most to them and their school community. To support our students’ participation in this observance and to keep them safe, BPS students and staff are invited to participate in activities that will be arranged by their school as part of the “BPS Day of Observance: #Enough.” These activities, which will be conducted on school grounds, are designed to provide healthy and safe opportunities for students to express their views, feelings, and concerns during this 17-minute period. They may include classroom-based activities, school-wide assemblies, or outdoor observances on a school’s campus.
You or your child may wish to opt out of participating in these events. If so, please send a written note or email to your child’s school on or before March 14. We suggest you contact your child’s school if you have any questions or would like additional information.
We recognize that some students may choose to leave their school grounds to join others in lobbying at the State House. We encourage you to have a discussion with your child about this. We hope that students participate in the planned 17-minute activities at their school and remain for classes afterward. Students who do not return to class after the designated activity will be marked absent from any missed classes. They will also be provided the opportunity to make up the missed classwork.
Some parents may choose to support their child through early dismissal. Parents giving their child permission to depart early on March 14 will need to submit a letter or email to their student’s school. Schools will call families to verify that the letter was submitted by a legal parent or guardian. Students 16 years of age and older who leave school will do so without any adult supervision. Students under the age of 16 must be picked up in person by a parent or guardian in order to be dismissed.
We recognize the importance of students having the opportunity to understand and discuss the recent events with their families. You may find the following website helpful as you speak with and support your child: https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/18/02/resiliency-after-violence.
I want to thank everyone throughout the BPS community for supporting our young people as they develop their voice and ability to take action on important issues. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.
Tommy Chang, Ed.D.