A Message Regarding Student Walkouts
Below, please read a message from Superintendent Jack Smith regarding student walkouts organized for March 14. This email was sent to staff Outlook inboxes and to the community on Thursday, March 7.
Some high school students within Montgomery County Public Schools are organizing a student walkout on March 14 to advocate against gun violence. MCPS respects and supports our students’ right to advocate for issues that are important to them. This support is defined in Regulation JFA-RA: Student Rights and Responsibilities. While we support student advocacy and are proud of students when they speak out for what they believe in, we want students who wish to engage in the civic process during school hours to do so while at school, in a supportive and safe learning environment. With guidance from MCPS leadership, school administrators will work closely with student leaders to develop a plan for March 14 that will provide students an opportunity to express their views while remaining safe on campus. These demonstrations will be student-led and voluntary. No student will be compelled to participate or discouraged from participation.
I am aware that some students may decide to participate in a walkout that takes them off campus. As I have shared previously, leaving school property can disrupt instruction for other students and pose a significant safety risk. MCPS does not have the staff or resources to ensure students are safe during the school day when they are not on a school campus. I ask that you speak with your child to let them know that if they leave school property without permission or walk out of class outside of the designated time, it will be considered an unexcused absence. Information about the impact of an unexcused absence can be found in A Student’s Guide to Rights and Responsibilities and the Student Code of Conduct. If school administrators learn that your child has left the building without permission, they will contact you as soon as possible.
School staff and resources are available to support students at all levels who may want to talk about school safety.
Please know that MCPS is committed to providing support for students, as well as an opportunity to express their views.
Jack R. Smith, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools