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Superintendent Sends Letter re: National School Walkout

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Superintendent Sends Letter re: National School Walkout
Posted on 03/03/2018
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Portland Public Schools Superintendent Xavier Botana sent a letter today to middle and high school families and staff regarding the March 14 National School Walkout to protest gun violence. The superintendent’s message is below:

March 3, 2018

Dear Middle and High School Families and Staff,

On Wednesday, March 14 at 10:00 am, a 17-minute National Walkout has been called in response to the tragic shootings that took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Portland Public Schools will allow this student-led activity to be held. Our school administrators are aware of our students’ desires to create a peaceful statement against gun violence by participating in this event. We are proud that our students are passionate about advocating for their beliefs. They have a powerful voice that can effect change, and it is our role as educators to support them as they learn to apply democratic principles in action.

Our secondary schools will permit our students’ participation in a brief intermission during the school day on March 14 to exercise their free speech rights with regard to the issue of school violence on school property and without disrupting the school day. This will be an opportunity for all students to express their views, in a peaceful and orderly manner, on the subject of school safety. Students who participate will not be penalized for taking part in this activity. No students will be pressured by the schools to participate if they choose not to or to support a particular point of view.

Our secondary school principals have had meetings with their staff and student leaders regarding this event. As always, the safety and security of students and staff will be our number one priority. Portland Police Department has been alerted of our plans. School support and counseling specialists will be made available to students and staff, as needed.

We also encourage our families to have conversations with their students about their expectations and participation in this student-led activity. These types of dialogues can provide the best learning for all students.

Middle and high school principals will send out communication to families regarding the details of their school’s participation. If you have specific questions about the planned activity, I encourage you to speak with your school’s principal.

Sincerely,

Xavier Botana, Superintendent