Please read below for a message from Dr. Kate Maguire regarding National Walkout Day on Friday, April 20. This message was sent to all K-12 families on April 13, 2018.
National Walkout Day is Friday, April 20
We are aware that Friday, April 20, is National School Walkout Day to “protest congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence.” (Source: www.nationalschoolwalkout.net). This event is not sponsored or endorsed by Osseo Area Schools; it is a privately organized event taking place nationwide.
The official website for the event indicates that unlike the March 14 walkout, which only lasted 17 minutes, the April 20 walkout is planned as an all-day event, starting at 10 a.m. An all-day walkout poses complex challenges for schools; it also prompts important conversations within families regarding expectations for their children that day. Our sincere desire is that all students will attend school for the full day.
Note to parents/guardians of children in grades K-8: The information below is primarily written with high school (gr. 9-12) students in mind. If you intend for your child to participate in this event, please make advance arrangements to pick them up directly from school.
What will happen if my student walks out?
It’s important to note that the school response is related only to the student’s choice to leave the building during the school day; it has no relation to the purpose of any walkout.
Students who voluntarily leave the building during the school day:
- Will miss all learning activities and classroom tests for the rest of the day, in addition to state MCA tests at schools that are administering MCAs that day.
- Will be marked with an unexcused absence unless a parent/guardian has given prior permission through our regular absence reporting process.
- Will not be able to participate in after-school and/or evening activities that day.
- Will need to arrange their own activities for the rest of the day and their own way home (parents/guardians may come to school at 10 a.m.—the beginning of the walkout—to pick up their child, if they wish). Students who leave the building will not be able to access school transportation at the end of the school day.
As they would on any day that students voluntarily leave the building during the school day, teachers/other school staff:
- Will continue to teach the regular lesson for the day.
- Will provide regular hallway supervision to help ensure student safety.
- Will not physically restrain students from leaving the building.
- Will not permit students to remain on school property after they leave the building.
- Will not supervise students after they leave school property.
Balancing student voice and school operations
In Osseo Area Schools, we encourage students to exercise their freedom of speech and to become lifelong learners about issues that are important to them. When nationwide opportunities for students to raise their voices occur on school days, we must also consider the potential impact on the regular focus on teaching and learning that our students and families expect. A nationwide all-day walkout poses significant challenges for managing those expectations.
Please have an intentional conversation with your child before April 20
I hope the above information will help inform your conversation with your child so that whatever you and your child decide to do, you will both be aware of the school’s response.
Kate Maguire, Osseo Area Schools superintendent