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District Statement Regarding National Protests

March 13, 2018

McGuffey School District is aware of national student protests stemming from the tragic February 14, 2018, school shooting in Florida.  To date, no students have expressed an intent to participate in any protests, but we wanted to reach out to stakeholders regarding this matter.  

The Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth guarantee the right of public school students to freedom of speech.  We value the right of students to express themselves; however, we have an obligation to maintain an orderly school environment and to protect the rights of all members of the school community.

We respect students’ freedom of speech and their right to express themselves in ways that are not disruptive to the school environment.  Productive examples of such expression include, but are not limited to, writing letters of advocacy to legislators, school officials, and/or community leaders; or preparing for and scheduling meetings with legislators, school officials, and/or community leaders to advocate their views.  

Please understand that safety is our priority.  Therefore, we cannot support student expression that disrupts the educational environment.  This includes, but is not limited to, leaving an assigned area unauthorized or leaving the school building unauthorized.  We consider walkouts, walk-ins, and activities of this nature disruptive to the educational environment. 

We expect students to follow our building procedures for signing in and out of classrooms at all times.  Further, we expect students to follow the procedures for early dismissals, which include written parent permission, a family member signing the student out of school for the early dismissal, and/or the parent calling the school office to verify the early dismissal.  Administrators will follow our student code of conduct regarding any disciplinary actions that may be necessary. 

To be clear, the first-time consequence for a student who leaves an assigned area (classroom) without permission is one day of in-school suspension.  The first-time consequence for a student who leaves the school building without permission earns one day of out-of-school suspension.  Given that no students have expressed an intent to participate in any protests, we do not anticipate any problems.  We are merely communicating this information given the national media attention and the intent of students attending other schools in our area.

McGuffey School District administrators have recently developed a short survey for students, staff, and parents aimed to collect views about the safety, security, and culture of our schools.  Based on the results of this survey, we will work with stakeholders to ensure a safe, positive learning environment for all students, staff, and families who attend our schools. 

McGuffey School District will continue to invest in the physical security of our buildings with armed school police officers at each campus, secure building entrances, Raptor instant screening of all visitors, regular practice of various safety drills, security provided after school hours, monthly safety committee meetings, locked facilities, and multi-unit camera monitoring systems. 

Please contact any school administrator with any questions.  Thank you.

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