Conversations on School Walkouts and Other Protests

Huntley 158 families,

As you are likely aware, there is an ongoing discussion about school safety and related topics among young people and families across the country. In many schools, students have announced plans to participate in national school walkout days scheduled for March 14 and April 20. Other forms of activism are being seen in different schools as well.

In Huntley 158, we’ve been holding conversations with students about their plans, and about how we can nurture their ability to lend their voice to this important discussion. A small number of students have approached school administrators inquiring about ways to work with the school to facilitate participation in a walkout. Additional meetings with students are planned for this week. Our primary aim is to work with our students on ways that they can participate in the national discussion safely and effectively.

Please know that the extent of involvement by any of our schools or staff members will be to encourage students to share their viewpoints, regardless of political stance, to engage with the process, and to advocate for themselves in a safe and responsible way. Our support of students does not constitute, nor will we otherwise advocate for, any particular political viewpoint or position on the issues under discussion.

After assessing the safety and security concerns raised by having a large number of students exiting and remaining outside of their school at a set time, we are not encouraging students in any of our schools to take part in a walkout as a form of civic engagement. There are no plans to issue discipline for any students who do participate in respectful forms of protest. But again, we are not encouraging walkouts due to safety concerns and are continuing to work with students on exploring alternative forms of engagement.

This is a seminal moment in our country and in our students’ lives. Advocating for one’s views and participating in civic life is a right of our students, a learning opportunity, and a practice we want to encourage in our students on their journeys to becoming active and engaged citizens.

Thank you for continuing the conversation around school safety with our students in your homes. And as always, please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Brad Hawk
Interim Superintendent