NEW ROCHELLE, NY — The following is an email that Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne and New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson sent to community members Friday about students’ plans to take part in the 17-minute national walkout on Wednesday:
Dear New Rochelle High School Families,
Students at New Rochelle High School have discussed with school administration their intent to participate in a 17-minute walkout demonstration at 10 a.m. on March 14 to honor the 17 victims of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and to demonstrate for stronger gun control laws
We applaud our students’ desire to be part of the political process and to make their voices heard. Students and staff have the right to free speech, and the right to assemble. In a school context, however, there are limitations on those rights that exist to preserve the orderly functioning of school and to safeguard students from viewpoint discrimination. As a school, we cannot endorse the walkout because it is political speech and disruptive of the school day. We will, however, do everything in our power to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
To ensure safety, students who decide to participate in the walkout are asked to congregate on the front fields and not leave school grounds. Administrators, counselors and teachers who are not teaching during third period will provide supervision for the event. The campus will be closed to all visitors from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Additional security and police personnel will patrol the periphery of the campus.
Since the walkout is not a sanctioned school event, participating in it is a form of civil disobedience and the standard consequences for missing or leaving class early will apply. Students who miss a class will have the absence recorded as an unexcused absence. Students who arrive to school or class late will be marked late. Classroom routines will continue as normal to support the students who decide to stay in class.
We recognize there will be different opinions about whether students should be allowed to participate in this demonstration. We respect everyone’s opinion and we encourage you to talk with your child about his or her choices for Wednesday. We are also impressed with the thoughtfulness and passion of the students who have discussed the walkout with us. As always, if there are any parent or student concerns, please feel free to reach out to your child’s house principal or guidance counsellor.
Brian Osborne, Superintendent
City School District of New Rochelle
Reginald Richardson, Principal
New Rochelle High School