Dear GCCS Students/Staff/Parents/Community:
There has been an enormous amount of media attention regarding planned protests/walkouts in response to the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The National School Walkout is planned for Wednesday, March 14th at 10:00 a.m. and is calling for students to walk out of class for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims killed last month. A second walkout is also planned for Friday, April 20th at 10:00 a.m. on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. I wanted to make you aware of these events and share the district’s plans for these dates.
We do not feel it is safe to allow students to leave the school building during events that are so highly publicized, but we also believe that their voices need to be respected. As a district, we have worked this entire school year on implementation of our academy model and the number one thing we revisit during our work is discussion about the importance of student voice. We are a district with fabulous student leaders and we have encouraged our principals to include students and staff in conversations about how to best address potential walkouts. We, as a district, have decided to support our students by allowing them to hold student organized events on Wednesday, March 14th.
We have kept in mind the age of our students and understand these events aren’t age appropriate for our elementary students so they will not participate. Middle and high schools have planned their events to memorialize the victims of the Parkland and Marshall County shooting and building-specific information is posted on the Greater Clark County Schools’ website at gccschools.com. We will allow our students to share their voice, then return to their instructional day.
I encourage you to speak to your child about their thoughts on this nationwide movement and their student organized event. It is important for students and parents to understand, any student who does walk out of the school building during the advertised dates/times will be in violation of the district’s truancy policy #5200 and will be disciplined. Our students do have First Amendment rights at school as long as that speech does not cause a major disruption; however, our top priority is to keep our students and staff safe so building-specific plans are a balance between respecting student voice and assuring student and staff safety. We appreciate your support in this matter.
Andrew Melin, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Charlestown High School
Charlestown Middle School
Jeffersonville High School
At the beginning of period 5, via intercom, students will line the halls near their classes to unify for end to school violence. There will be 19 seconds of silence in memory of the recent deaths, followed a reading of the names of the victims from both Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Marshall County High School. It will conclude by asking everyone to commit to ending violence at school and also commit to keeping Jeff High a safe place to learn and do great work.
During the united time in the halls, WJHI will film from various locations to produce a short video of Jeff High honoring the victims of recent school violence and taking a stand for safety in schools, which will be posted on the Jeff High website and social media accounts.