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Principal’s Letter  

Students organize March 14 memorial assembly

 

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Since the horrific tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida nearly one month ago, students from across the country have mobilized to speak out against school violence. In recent weeks, you may have seen on social media or online news sites that students are planning a nationwide school walkout on Wednesday, March 14 to draw attention to the issue of school safety.

With that in mind, we want to make you aware of an event that will take place on March 14 at Watervliet Jr./Sr. High School. Over the past two weeks, our Student Council and National Honor Society members have worked with school administrators and teachers to plan a peaceful assembly that offers students an opportunity to express themselves in a respectful and thoughtful manner.

This assembly, organized by students for students, will honor the memory of the 17 students and faculty members from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School whose lives were taken during that unspeakable act of violence last month. It also will show our support for the Parkland school community as its students, staff and families begin the long and difficult healing process.

While we strongly support student voice, please know that our primary responsibility is to keep students safe. In the interest of safety, students will remain inside school for the March 14 assembly, rather than gathering outside the building. We have also asked the Watervliet Police Department to maintain a presence in the vicinity of the high school campus for added safety.

Our goal is to allow students to exercise their voice, if they so choose, in a safe environment where no one will be penalized or judged. Participation in the assembly is completely voluntary. Students who choose not to participate are welcome to opt out and remain with a teacher during the class period that the assembly takes place.

By the same token, any student who decides to make a poor choice, such as leaving the school building without permission or creating a disruptive environment, will face disciplinary consequences in accordance with the school’s Code of Conduct and attendance policy.

As always, I encourage you to reach out to me or an assistant principal with any questions or concerns you may have about the March 14 assembly or school safety in general.

Sincerely,
Ryan Groat, Principal

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