I guess watching out for student safety isn’t popular with some people

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The Santa Rosa City Schools superintendent and board of education are getting flack, in the form of emails, from people who are outraged that the district “helped” students walk out on Friday.  I’m sure the district will release an official explanation, but here’s my personal perspective:
  • The district, meaning neither teachers nor administrators, did not encourage the walk out, large groups of students left campus of their own volition
  • Some district administration, including site principals and vice-principals, accompanied the students, helping them cross dangerous intersections and trying to keep energy peaceful.  They were working with SRPD to help minimize and mitigate any need for law enforcement to intervene, in other words:  to keep students safe
  • Buses were called as students began to want to get back to campus.  Again, putting student safety first, the district did not want groups of unsupervised students wandering around the city. There were close to a 100 middle school students by themselves, in addition to high school students.

Here are some of the emails, complete with errors, we’ve received so far:

Dear Superintendent Shiels,
The Press Democrat wrote in today’s edition, “The district provided a number of school buses to transport marchers Friday, and a handful of middle school, high school and district administrators observed the protest throughout the day.”
Can you please provide me with information regardingn the District’s policy for school bus usage.  This request is being made as I am very concerned regarding the fact that the district provided buses to participate in a non school related activity. Whereas, currently buses are not provided for all sanctioned school events and it is left to us parents to oversee and financially provide transportation to our childrens school related events.
I responded about the district only providing buses to return students to their schools. She responded with this:
I appreciate your response in attempt to clarify the action taken which now presents another question… How is it the Districts responsibility to round up students who as you have stated walked out on their own volition? Are the parents of the students who walked out responsible for the cost of the transportation services provided?
Another one:
Dear Superintendent Shiels,
I cannot begin to express my disappointment your decision to use school funds hire a bus and then excuse students from school to attend an emotionally-charged rally.  This decision was reactionary and sent a very poor message to students, district-wide, as to how to behave in the face of tragedy.  You have set the tone as reactive rather than proactive.  Now, instead of finding a solution or collecting all the facts, students will jump to conclusions and not have the tools to cope, but to become angry and not process that anger in a positive way, but in an impulsive way.  You were hired to represent the best interest of all students.  How is it in the best interest of any student to leave the safety of school and head out on the street?
As a suggestion, I say that in order for tragedy to have a more proactive outcome, students should be guided to write letters to the manufacturer of the replica weapon and demand changes be made so that anyone can differentiate the replica from the real deal; as of now, they are quite mistakable.  Or, students could write to legislators to ban the sales of any “toy” guns that are not clearly meant as toys.  They could use their passion to create change; you could still (and should have) guide this proactive direction within the district.
And:

I pay taxes for my student to receive an education.  I do not think that the school should take a position on an incident like this one.  I hope that it was not true that teachers were encouraging students to walk out of school to attend the protest held at the Sheriff’s office.  I hope that the teachers that were in attendance were not being paid to attend this “event”.  I also hope that these “students” will be charged with an unexcused absence for this as well.  These schools do not deserve to be paid to have “students” attend a protest.  I also hope that it was untrue that school buses  paid by the district came to pick these kids up from the Sheriff’s office.  We cant even get a bus to take our teams to away football games.

The “students” caused several thousand dollars of damage at the Sheriff office.  I hope that all of those “students” that were taped causing damage will be made to pay for the damages.  Since was approved by the school I hope that the district is going to pay as well.  The teachers in attendance did not seem to care to stop anyone from stopping this damage either.

How about this.  You as a school district worry about teaching the students.  Let their parents teach them about life and death and making good decisions.  By you as a district sending out messages like this one it is telling these kids that you approve of their behavior.

You have embarrassed yourselfs again……keep up the good work

If you want to chime in, especially with letters of support (hint, hint), you can reach us here.

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About socolaura

Mom, educator, opinionated, passionate, smart, witty, wise Latina. Waiting for my moment of zen.
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