In light of the recent events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, many high school students have organized themselves to give a greater voice to stop gun violence and call upon state and federal lawmakers to take action. Some Shaker High School students are requesting an opportunity to come together in solidarity on March 14.
As a school district, our role is to remain neutral in this matter, by neither endorsing nor opposing a particular political viewpoint or platform. However, students have certain rights to free-speech and may express their political viewpoints, if the expression doesn’t present a material or substantial disruption to the learning environment. The district is committed to keeping students safe throughout the process.
For the past two weeks, we have been working with high school students, staff and local law enforcement to maintain the safety of our students. We respect the rights of all of our students, both those who might chose to participate in a student-organized event and those who do not. The role of our staff during this time will be to help keep all of our students safe.
Given the advanced notice about the possibility of activities planned by students for March 14, it would be irresponsible for our school district not to plan ahead about the logistics of what might take place. It is important to note that there will be a substantial police presence for the period of time impacted by the event. While specific details as to the nature of the students’ proposed activities have not been finalized (i.e. a walk-out, a student gathering in a central place, etc.), Shaker High School Principal Murphy has adjusted the high school’s bell schedule for that day. Mid-morning break will be begin at 10:00 a.m. and some students are planning on participating in a self-organized activity during this time.
Given some of our students’ passionate support for this issue, we will do our best to allow them to be actively engaged citizens who learn the skills they need to form, support, and express their own personal positions on issues in a safe and appropriate way that does not disrupt the school environment. We will continue to work with the students who are organizing this event to remain apprised of their plans. If you have any questions, please contact my office.
Superintendent Joseph Corr