March 13, 2018 11:20 a.m.
Officials with the Roseburg School District say they are ready for the potential of student-led walkouts on Wednesday.
A letter was emailed to district families by Superintendent Gerry Washburn on Tuesday. Washburn says the district has an “unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety and security of our students, staff, volunteers and visitors in our schools”. He says the most important priority is ensuring a safe learning environment for students.
Washburn says protests are scheduled to occur nationally on Wednesday. He says the protest calls for students to walk out of school for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims in the Florida shooting. Along with Wednesday, other potential national protest days are March 24th and April 20th.
Washburn says the district cannot encourage nor discourage students from participating. He says students have the right to freedom of speech and expression while at school as long as that speech and expression does not substantially disrupt the educational process. He says should students choose to walk out, they and their parents or guardians should be aware of the following:
*Non-teaching staff members and administrators who are providing supervision will be focusing on keeping students safe and on campus.
*Attendance will be taken after the walkout so there is a record of students who do not return to class.
*If students leave campus, the district cannot provide supervision, so students are strongly encouraged to remain on school grounds.
*Students will not be disciplined for their participation as long as they remain safe, respectful and responsible and act in a matter that is not disruptive to the school environment. They will also be marked tardy if they return to class late.
Washburn encourages parents to discuss the matter with their students in advance so there is a mutual understanding about expectations.
Nationally some are calling for the walk-outs as both a memorial to the students who died in a recent Florida school shooting, and as a way to encourage lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws. EMPOWER, the youth branch of the Women’s March, originated the idea. At last check around 2,500 walkouts are planned according to the organization’s website: https://www.womensmarch.com/empower/