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February 27, 2018

High school students will take stand against violence

Liberty Principal Sam Cox tweeted this photo of students demonstrating against school violence on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
Our feeling and my feeling is . . . these kids need a voice. They are the ones who are the targets. Doesn’t it make sense to hear what they have to say? They want to know what we are doing to make schools safe.
— Superintendent David Jeck
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Most Fauquier administrators and school board members support students’ plans to demonstrate against violence next month.

Students at all three county high schools — Fauquier, Kettle Run and Liberty — will walk out of class for 17 minutes Wednesday, March 14 and Friday, April 20. The optional demonstrations will start at 10 a.m.

Since the murders of 17 students Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., teenagers across the nation have joined the campaign for change.

Fauquier Superintendent David Jeck discussed the student-planned walkouts with principals, who support students’ choice to demonstrate peacefully, he told the school board Monday night.

“Our feeling and my feeling is . . . these kids need a voice,” Dr. Jeck said. “They are the ones who are the targets. Doesn’t it make sense to hear what they have to say? They want to know what we are doing to make schools safe.

“I support the idea of students to have a march,” Dr. Jeck added. “As long as it’s organized, meaningful . . . . That’s appropriate.”

Student leaders from all three high schools met Tuesday to discuss details.

“I think it will be a good event for them and give them a voice,” Fauquier High Assistant Principal Kraig Kelican said during Monday’s meeting.

School board member Brian Gorg (Center District) suggested students remain aware they can always speak at county supervisors and school board meetings.

“I think, on this issue, we are making sure students feel safe and are safe,” Mr. Gorg said. “We want them civically involved. We have to be careful about precedent setting.”

Don Mason (Lee) raised concerns about safety during the walkouts and suggested students writing letters to elected representatives might have a greater impact.

Around noon last Wednesday, about 100 Liberty High students gathered outside the building to demonstrate against school violence.

Liberty Principal Sam Cox described it as a “peaceful demonstration” in a Tweet.

School board member Duke Bland (Marshall) said he hopes to attend all three demonstrations March 14.

Suzanne Sloane (Scott) also expressed support for the students.

Mr. Gorg stressed that he hopes the demonstrations will avoid politics.

“There are a lot of different things people want out of this,” he said.

The school board Monday night also voted, 4-1, to hire an unarmed security officer for each campus as soon as possible. Each high school already has an armed sheriff’s deputy.

Dr. Jeck decided to accelerate hiring the additional security officers after the Parkland shooting spree.
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citizen observer · March 1, 2018 at 11:50 am
MissB- so what are we teaching kids by letting them walk out of school in protest? Wouldn't it be better to teach them the responsible civic act of identifying the issues and pushing for the corrective actions thru lawmakers?

So we teach these kids to just walk out. What do you think will happen when they have a job, and just walk out to protest something like they have been taught?

Let alone the safety concerns. Something amiss when students are afraid to go outside for a fire drill, but okay going out for a well publicized event.
Moore25 · March 1, 2018 at 11:28 am
I agree that the students have a voice and should be heard but why outside where they are vulnerable to these acts of violence, what security measures are going to be in place to protect our children while they are outside for these 17 minutes. If the School administration is supportive of them having this demonstration provide it in the auditorium, keep it inside the school…But remember this as well once you allow them to do demonstrations for this you open up a lot of other discussions that they will want to protest and school is about educating our students not finding ways to get out of class.
You also post days and times of this planned demonstration so everyone knows when they will be outside how is that safe?? If your concern is for our children and their safety then you would have better accommodations for this rather than put them in danger. We send our children to school to learn and leave them in your hands to care for and this is what we are getting in return. I am very disappointment in the Administration, you speak about safety and then announce they will be allowed to participate in a demonstration outside. Patients need to be informed of these plans not everyone else, it is our children you’re putting in danger. Explain to us how you plan to keep them safe during this time.
I do have to give Mr. Mason credit for his concern for our children, it looks like he is the only one that acknowledged the safety concerns of this demonstration. Thank you Mr. Mason!
Fauquier proud · February 28, 2018 at 8:12 pm
Why are the school administrators encouraging this? Political views of teachers and administrators is not to be discussed in our schools. This is clearly a political subject. That seems to be openly discussed. The students should not be allowed to disrupt the school day with the teachers' and administrators' support. I am not saying that the students should not have a voice. What I am saying is if it truly means something to them let them show up on a Saturday or after school hours. Because we all know there are children who will do it because of peer pressure and also as away just to get out of class. Think about this, the article said students are afraid to go out for a fire drill but are willing to go outside at a publicized predetermined time to speak out. That makes a lot of sense doesn't it. We, as parents, are supposed to teach our children how to prepare for life. It is our schools' responsibility to EDUCATE. I feel as a parent of school age children that our school system has forgotten the education part. The use of cell phones in our school system is a very bad idea. When they get into the work force that may not be an option. I understand technology is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing. As much as you see people on their cell phones, schools should not be the place where it is encouraged to do so. There is more than enough time after school hours to check social media. Lets take a blind vote without the fear of retaliation of all of the teachers in the county and see if it is more of a disruption to the classroom than it is used as an aid.
MissB · February 28, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Civics should be a part of every student's education. Students exercising their constitutional rights to peacefully assemble and expressing their concerns should be encouraged! So partaking in this protest and experiencing being an active citizen should be considered a part of their education. Not all learning has to come from sitting in a classroom.

The world today is very different than it was just 25 years ago. The internet has changed many things for both good and bad. The hate on the internet and in public discourse in recent times is very disturbing. And when our government officials set the example of promoting the hate and chaos, what are our young people supposed to take from that?
citizen observer · February 28, 2018 at 11:13 am
I agree students should be allowed to express themselves, but not on school time or property at taxpayers expense.

They are at school to learn, not protest. If students want to protest something like abortion, on school time and property, will they be allowed to and supported for walking out of class? Where will the line be drawn on what can be protested?

Hopefully these students are being taught that there are many underlying issues with these shootings, not just the liberal media agenda. They also need to be told "If you see something, say something" and have a functional avenue for reporting potential problems.

So sad where we are today. When I was in high school many student had gun racks in their truck, with shotguns and/or rifles in them, in the school parking lot because many went hunting after school. No one ever thought of bringing them into school, let alone shooting someone. What has changed to bring us to the dysfunctionality we have in this era?

Jim Griffin · February 28, 2018 at 8:31 am
These are students' plans for expressing themselves. I respect their choices, all the better that they are working it out with school administration.
pleazer18 · February 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm
How is walking out giving them a voice? Have an open forum in the auditorium with school officials so they can ask questions, give their concerns and thoughts. Walking out of school gets them nowhere but out of class. You are making them sitting targets posting out where the entire school will be at a certain time, place and day. Thought we were trying to get better school security- which this is not.
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