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BCSD Students Will Participate in Acts of Solidarity for Parkland Fla.
Dear Binghamton Parents and Guardians:

In light of the most recent school shooting tragedy in Parkland, Fla., students across the nation have been finding constructive ways to deal with this horrific event.

As you may have read or heard, there has been a call to students to participate in a 17-minute national school walkout on Wed, March 14 at 10 a.m., which marks the one-month anniversary of the tragic shootings that took place at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. As educators, it is our role is to help teach our students how to actively engage in civic conversations and the importance of being engaged in our democratic process. This happens in many ways, including voting, writing to or speaking with elected officials, joining organizations that hold or advocate for a specific ideal or belief, and by participating in peaceful and respectful demonstrations. Our building principals at both middle schools and Binghamton High School have been engaged with their student governments to plan events at each building that demonstrate support and advocacy.

West Middle School students will be participating in a “Support Walk” that will involve walking across the auditorium stage and providing a message of support on a banner.  At East Middle School, the front lobby will host a memorial of the 17 victims of the Florida shooting, where cards will be placed for students to write positive messages to the students in Parkland, Fla. The Student Council will lead a hashtag campaign focused on messages of kindness and at 10 a.m., 17 members of our student council will read the names of the victims. At Binghamton High School the student commons will feature a memorial with a banner stating “Binghamton High School Stands With Marjory Stoneman Douglas.” At 10 a.m., students will leave their classrooms and walk into the hallways, joining arm in arm, forming a human chain throughout the building. A bell will ring and the names of each victim will be announced on the minute and every minute for 17 minutes. Students will then return to their classrooms and engage in a hashtag campaign focusing on messages of advocacy and kindness.  Students who seek an alternative to what is planned, such as standing outside in solidarity for 17 minutes on school grounds, are asked to come to the main office no later than Tuesday, March 13, by the end of the day so that supervision can be provided. 17 days of action will then follow the event commemorating the victims through positive action in the school.  Each of these activities will be shared by students on Monday and lead by students.

Elementary principals and teachers will find ways to be responsive to students that are age-appropriate and suitable for their interest in the topic. No school-wide events have been planned specific for March 14 at the elementary level. This can be a learning opportunity that helps our students apply lessons that they are learning in school. Above all, we want them to know we value their voices and their right to self-expression. If you have questions, I encourage you to speak with your school’s principal.

It is important that children know that if they need help or have a concern regarding their own personal safety to please contact a school staff member or a police officer immediately. Supporting our children with positive and open conversations is crucial in helping them deal with uncertainty. Please remember that if you or your child sees something, say something.

We will continue to create the safest and most positive learning environments possible for your children.

With Patriot Pride,

 Tonia Signature

Dr. Tonia Thompson

Superintendent of Schools

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