Trottier prepared for tomorrow’s potential demonstrators and students’ curiosity

by beth on March 13, 2018

Tomorrow, March 14th, is “National School Walkout” in memory of the victims of the shooting in Florida one month earlier. According to a message to parents, some Southborough middle schoolers want to participate. On Monday, Trottier Middle School’s Principal sent a message to parents about the school’s plans for handling it.

The Southborough principal explains that the school is trying to support student’s curiousity while keeping them safe.

The school will direct any protesters to convene in the school’s auditorium for the 17 minute event. Principal Kieth Lavoie says that the school’s plans are based on the “limited number” of students who expressed an interest in joining the walkout. School administrators will answer questions and talk to participating students about alternative ways to protest.

Following up, Lavoie says that social studies teachers will prepare to have conversations on with students the next day. Topics will focus on civics, including civil disobedience and the right to protest:

Each of these topics will be handled without a political side and will remain purely informational. The teachers are preparing resources to support the dialogue and the teachers will handle the conversation at their discretion.

A recent communication by Algonquin’s Principal Sarah Walsh referred to a March 14th ARHS Movement of Solidarity. Details weren’t available at that time, and I haven’t seen any updates since. (I haven’t heard back from the administration – but can’t blame them in the midst of cancelled school.)

Here is the full statement sent to Trottier parents:

Trottier National School Walkout Plans – March 14, 2018

Dear Parents,

Superintendent Johnson shared a correspondence with you about different topics related to School Safety Readiness and topics connected to the February 14, 2018, tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As she stated, this tragedy has created a national conversation. Part of the conversation encourages students to walk out of schools across the country in an act of protest and solidarity.

The protest is intended to give students a voice and send a message to elected officials that more needs to be done to protect our schools. At Trottier, we have had a limited number of our students express an interest in participating, but we also have a teachable moment ahead of us and we know that there is a great deal of curiosity.

To memorialize the seventeen people that were killed during the tragedy, the national walkout has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 10 am. The walkout is intended to last 17 minutes to honor those that lost their lives. In order to keep our students safe, we will not permit students to leave the building. Instead, the students who decide to exit the classroom will be directed to the auditorium. In the auditorium, Mr. Hreschuk and I will listen to our students and allow them to ask us questions about the topics. This forum will give them an opportunity to speak and share their thoughts. We will also review the purpose of protest and how there are alternatives to walking out of school. For example, the students are welcome to start a letter-writing campaign, which we will help them complete. We recommend that you have a conversation with your child about whether they plan to participate with an emphasis on why they are making that choice.

In addition on Thursday, March 15th, our social studies teachers are prepared to have a conversation with all students. This will ensure that every student has access to the information related to — civil disobedience, right to protest, and other linked topics. Each of these topics will be handled without a political side and will remain purely informational. The teachers are preparing resources to support the dialogue and the teachers will handle the conversation at their discretion.

Our students are very curious and need an outlet to have their questions answered. Above all, our priority is to keep our students safe. We are confident that our plan provides students with support and a voice. Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

Sincerely,

Mr. Lavoie

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