A few weeks ago, I wrote about our school division’s ongoing commitment to provide our students and staff with a safe and secure work and learning environment. Last month’s school shootings in Parkland, Florida continue to generate a great deal of conversation and questions regarding our school division’s future planning. In response to this tragic event, there are many student-led movements that deserve our attention. One of these events, the National School Walkout to End Gun Violence, is scheduled to take place on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. for 17 minutes when our students will be in Eagle Block and Bulldog Block.
As we are making plans for this and the possibility for other upcoming student-led events, our focus is on the safety and well-being of our staff and students. We encourage students to be lifelong learners as well as active and positive contributors to our community. We respect the rights of students to engage in an expression of student voice as long as it is done respectfully, does not interfere with the rights of others, does not disrupt our learning environment, and does not jeopardize the safety of our students or our staff. Allowing public expression by students, within these parameters, is aligned with our core values of Excellence, Courage, and Honor as we support an environment in which individuals seek to have a purposeful positive impact, advocating for themselves and others at all times.
Planning for this event has involved students, staff, the Goochland Sheriff’s Office, and the Goochland County Fire-Rescue and Emergency Services. On March 14, middle school or high school students who voluntarily choose to walk out will exit through designated doors and will re-enter the building in an orderly fashion. It is important to note that teachers and administrators will neither encourage nor discourage participation in this student led event, nor will our staff participate, other than to provide supervision. Staff will have a presence both inside and outside to ensure student safety, while security will be provided by the Sheriff’s Office.
Goochland County Public Schools is committed to meeting exceptional standards of growth, achievement, professionalism, character, and personal responsibility. Our objective on March 14 and everyday is to support these values in a safe environment.
Our administrative team is happy to answer questions that you may have regarding our planned approach to this national event. Please contact me at 556-5601, Ms. Rucker or Mr. Collier at the school if you would like to discuss this further.
We enjoy a special and critical partnership with all of our families, and I am committed to leading our division in a manner where parents, teachers and all school personnel work effectively together everyday to ensure a safe and positive school experience for our students.