The Long Beach Unified School District is aware of rumors of planned student protests and/or walkouts at some schools in response to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. It appears that at least three major student-led efforts are underway nationally, including on Wednesday, March 14; Saturday, March 24; and Friday, April 20.
Our top priority is to support the needs of our students while maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment for all. Free political expression and activity is one of the great privileges that we enjoy in this country. It is a privilege that should be taken seriously and used in a responsible way. Teachers and administrators here are always glad to see students become interested in any important issues facing our country, and are glad to encourage political participation by students, as long as it is done in a responsible way. We respect and support the right of our students to advocate for causes that are important to them and welcome the opportunity to work with any student or student group to discuss appropriate and creative ways to do so while at school.
Leaving campus during school hours to participate in political activity is not a safe and responsible way to work for change. We encourage you to talk to your children about how they may be feeling about this topic, and the importance of expressing themselves in appropriate ways at school. Students attempting to leave campus will not be held at school. But it’s important to know that disorderly conduct that disrupts school operations is not acceptable, and our usual expectations will remain in effect.
The most responsible way for students to pursue political change is to stay in school during school hours and pursue their political objectives here on campus in an acceptable forum, or wait until after-school hours to participate in political activities off campus. Opportunities for on-campus expression are being planned at all middle and high school campuses. In addition, Long Beach will be among the cities holding demonstrations nationwide on Saturday, March 24. The Long Beach event is planned for 10 a.m. at Bixby Park, located at 130 Cherry Ave. in Long Beach.
Thank you for your continued support.
Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools