Students, admin plan March 14 safety event at high school
Students to rally for school safety with administration’s support
–Students have organized a symbolic “walk-out” event in the PRHS quad on Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2018 to join the nationwide teen movement that commemorates the loss of life and rally for school safety in honor of the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Many PRHS students are planning to have their voices heard on issues such as gun control and school safety. Student leaders are planning to rally for 17 minutes from 10:00 to 10:17. Administration has arranged for an extended recess to accommodate the rally, and the students are planning to hold the rally in the school’s main quad.
“The district has made an effort to cooperate with students. They’ve offered support and acknowledged our desire to exercise our rights by making efforts to meet with passionate members of the student body,” said Senior Kat Dickinson, who has helped lead efforts among students to organize a rally. Dickinson also said she believes administrators are promoting civil discussion during this event.
Students from PRHS ASB leadership, Progressive Club, Equality Club, The Superintendent Advisory board, and other groups have worked to organize the rally. Administration from PRHS and the district have met with students during several lunch periods over the past weeks to ensure their voices are heard and that school safety is not threatened.
“We are excited to witness the collaborative work of student and staff leaders in providing such a format that speaks to safety and the value of positive relationships within the school community,” said PRJUSD Superintendent Chris Williams.
PRHS staff has allocated the 17 minutes as a slightly extended “nutrition” recess period, so that students will be able to rally and organize without missing class time. The 17 minute length represents the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, which has inspired walkouts across high school campuses in the U.S. for school safety and gun control measures that have been repeatedly stalled in congress. The rally at nutrition has been largely student driven, and student leaders plan for the rally to remain on the school property.
“We believe in our students: their ideas, their passion for equity, belonging and a safe environment,” PRJUSD Deputy Superintendent Jen Gaviola said.
PRHS staff and administration will also be leading student body assemblies that day as a way to encourage kindness, anti-bullying, student body unity, and school safety.
All parties are concerned with student safety—and indeed, that is the purpose of this event.
Superintendent Chris Williams, who released a statement last week concerning the potential protests, said that he was pleased the students and administration were able to create an event that would “give students a chance to have a voice within the education code and regulations.”