Dear Parents and Guardians:
Our hearts go out to the victims and their families after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. What happened in Parkland that day has had a profound impact on communities across the nation and is spurring conversation and debate about school safety. Naturally, our own students would like to voice their support for their Florida classmates, and look toward the future and for their own school’s safety.
Many of our students have taken action already, and written letters, sent emails, and posted positive messages in support of school safety. We know some have expressed a desire to participate as part of a nationwide, student-led walkout scheduled on March 14, at 10:00 a.m. for 17 minutes.
This event on March 14 is not sponsored in any way by the HBUHSD or any of our schools. It is entirely student-led, and while we support our students’ freedom of expression, it is our duty to supervise students on campus for their own safety. Even as some student groups have created activities that do not include leaving class or campus, we are prepared for all potential outcomes.
To strengthen and support a safe school environment, outside groups, parents/guardians and other individuals who do not have official school business will not be allowed on campus to participate in any activity or walkout. Our local law enforcement agencies are already working with us to ensure our campuses have noticeable support from them.
We encourage you to talk with your student and share your own expectations related to these non-school sponsored activities. Our principals and staff have been approached by our students about the many ways they can express their views, and we will continue to keep our lines of communication open to them and to you. In accordance with State law, we will not discipline students solely for expressing their First Amendment rights. However, we have encouraged our teachers and staff to inform students that if they leave class or campus without permission, they will likely be marked tardy or absent/truant.
We truly embody the “Union” in Huntington Beach Union High School District when we come together to navigate the important issues of our times. We will actively seek and engage in teachable moments with our students. We promise to use these times to follow our mission, “To educate, prepare, and inspire our students to change the world.”
Clint Harwick, Ed.D.
Dr. Bonnie P. Castrey