RCAS sends letter to parents on planned student walkout

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

The following is a letter sent to parents in the Rapid City School District regarding a planned student walkout to protest gun violence.


Dear Rapid City Area Schools Families,

The tragedy in Broward County, Florida last month and other losses of life on school campuses across the nation over several years have driven increased interest in student-led civic engagement efforts and actions, including school walkouts. Rapid City Area Schools wants to honor students’ Constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and free expression on a national conversation that is of personal concern to many of them, no matter what their perspectives are. Our goal in responding to walk-out plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to try and keep the focus on teaching and learning while allowing those students who choose to express themselves to do so while assuring student and staff safety.

Based on social media messaging and conversations between students and administrators, it appears that there are walkout efforts planned by students in our district. We expect that some of our students will participate in the 17-minute walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m. To ensure safety, students will be allowed to congregate at a designated location on their school campus for 17 minutes. Students are expected to return to their classrooms following the walkout. Students who do not return to class or who leave campus will be marked absent. As with any absence, the student will be responsible for making-up their work. Teachers and school staff will not participate in the walkout and will continue to teach and conduct business as usual.

Additionally, RCAS staff will not advocate a position to students or influence them in any direction related to national movements. We want to emphasize that the RCAS does not support, endorse, or encourage a walkout or protest, however, we do feel it is important to create safe spaces for our students to exercise their rights to participate or not participate in a national movement of this magnitude.

We encourage you to talk to your child(ren) about how they may be feeling about this issue and the importance of expressing themselves in appropriate ways at school. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this matter, you can contact Community Relations Manager Katy Urban at Katy.urban@k12.sd.us or by calling 605-394-4091.

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