Dear Westminster School District Parents & Guardians,
Westminster School District is aware of a number of nationwide walkouts being planned in response to the school shooting in Florida. It appears that at least three major student-led efforts are underway nationally, including Wednesday, March 14; Saturday, March 24; and Friday, April 20.
Our top priority is to support the needs of our students while maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment for all. Free political expression and activity is one of the great privileges that we enjoy in this country. Teachers and administrators here are always glad to see students become interested in any important issues facing our country, and are glad to encourage political participation by students, as long as it is done in a responsible way. We respect and support the right of our students to advocate for causes that are important to them and welcome the opportunity to work with any student or student group to discuss appropriate and creative ways to do so while at school.
Students have a free speech right and may express their political viewpoint if it does not present a material or substantial disruption to the learning environment. Leaving campus during school hours to participate in political activity is not a safe and responsible way to work for change. We encourage you to talk to your children about how they may be feeling about this topic, and the importance of expressing themselves in appropriate ways at school.
The most responsible way for students to pursue political change is to stay in school during school hours and pursue their political objectives here on campus in an acceptable forum, or wait until after-hours to participate in political activities off campus. Opportunities for on-campus, student-led expression are being planned at all middle school campuses during the lunch break. In addition, Huntington Beach will be among the cities holding demonstrations nationwide on Saturday, March 24th. A march is planned at 10:00 am from Lake Park to Huntington Beach City Hall.
Thank you for your continued support and partnership.
Dr. Gary Rutherford
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