Drew Walk with Community – March 14th
Dear Drew Family,
On February 14, 2018, we as a society and a national school community lost 17 precious lives to the tragic, senseless violence of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. As the Head of School, as a long time educator, and as a father, I watched the horrific footage of that day in anguish and sorrow, and its lingering memory informs my work as a servant of this community.
While there are certainly very important and difficult conversations to be had in the aftermath of this unisolated tragedy – conversations about gun laws, about mental health, about institutional policy, and about effective and accountable governmental response – I personally am refocused on my commitment to make decisions that keep this school community safe, that nurture and honor all of its members, and that provide our students with the opportunity to critically process and make meaningful contributions to our world.
In light of this, on March 14th at 10 AM – one month after the shooting – JA and SA students, who choose to participate, will have the opportunity to gather in solidarity with each other on the athletic field at the same time as others around this country. In spirit with friends and families of the deceased, our students will honor the lives lost, draw attention to the challenges that contributed to the loss, and lend their voices in support of peaceful protest and positive social change.
While on this same day organizers have planned a National Walk Out Event, student leaders at Drew have worked thoughtfully with the administration to plan an event that will allow students to walk with each other to the football field, where they will stand ceremoniously as a community with other students and teachers who feel the need to mark this moment reverently.
This event is optional. Students who choose not to participate will remain in their instructional space.
It will be for Drew students and staff only and will not be open to the public. The school’s gates will be closed before and after the event to ensure student safety. Parents who wish to check-out their children will need to do so before 9:30 AM. The event will solemnly recognize the first 17 minutes of the 10 AM hour, after which students will promptly return to class. There will be no disciplinary action for peaceful and respectful participation. However, students who do not participate within these parameters may be subject to disciplinary consequence.
While EA students will not participate in the above described activities, EA parents are encouraged to have an age-appropriate discussion with their child.
Although we understand that some parents would like to participate, we ask that you allow your children independence and support the school’s effort to safely manage the event.
In reflection, I am not certain how to heal the divisions that impede our solving this problem at a national and societal level, but in moments like these, that I am reminded of how important each of us is to each other and how we are each other’s best hope at ever realizing the “Beloved Community”.
Be Safe. Be Kind.
Head of School