National School Walkout – Letter to FPS

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So far responses from Fargo Public Schools regarding how it will handle or respond to a walkout on March 14 have been vague, in my judgement. This morning I wrote the following email to Superintendent Jeff Schatz, and a similar email to Fargo South High Principal Todd Bertsch. I’ve also been trading voicemails and texts with a couple of school board members.

See related posts:
What Will Happen If My Kids Protest?
National School Walkout – ACLU Response

Dear Dr. Schatz:

I appreciate your email of a few days ago to parents regrading the steps the district takes to protect students, and I appreciate the fact that the district truly does, in fact, take those actions to protect my children. I also appreciate the fact that you addressed the National School Walkout scheduled for March 14.

However, I’m writing to request clarification regarding the Fargo Public Schools’ policies and intentions related to that event.

As you know, your statement included the following about school walkout protests:

“There is a national movement for student and staff advocacy to promote school safety, such as school walk outs.  Fargo Public Schools will not prevent nor encourage participation in such events.  However, building administrators will be working with staff and student leadership to plan for a safe environment if such activities are to occur.  Any staff member who wishes to participate in a planned activity should consult with their principal to ensure policies and procedures are followed.  We will strive to keep the school day as normal as possible and discourage any activity that creates conflict.  We are encouraging parents/guardians to speak to their students about respecting others’ viewpoints and the responsibilities associated with participating in activities that may occur.”

This is a fine start but, unfortunately, is vague. It does not address what students are hearing in schools and, subsequently, what I am hearing from my kids.

At Fargo South, they’re apparently hearing that:

Any student who walks out and holds a placard or sign protesting gun violence in schools, or anything else, on school property will be disciplined.

  • Any student who chants slogans related to gun violence in schools, or anything else, on school property will be disciplined.
  • That student only “will be allowed” to walk out at 1 p.m. due to an all-school event that’s scheduled, rather than at 10 p.m. when students across the country will walk out in solidarity against gun violence in schools.
  • I hope what I am hearing is incorrect, because like anyone else, high school students have the right to peacefully voice their opinions.

That’s why I’m asking for clear and simple answers to these questions:

  • Is it true that students will be disciplined for holding placards or signs about gun violence in schools or anything else grounds?
  • Is it true that students will be disciplined for chanting slogans related to gun violence in schools or anything else on school grounds?
  • Is it true that Fargo South students will not “be allowed” to walk out at 10 am on March 14, like students in the rest of the nation, that instead they only “will be allowed” to do so  at 1 pm on March 14?

I will be sending a similar inquiry to Fargo South Principal Bertsch, as Betsy Beaton (communications and community relations) has recommended.

Even so, I’d appreciate a response from you.

I thank you in advance to your attention to my inquiry and for everything you and the Fargo Public Schools have done and continue to do for my kids.

Sincerely,

Martin Fredricks

 

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#Enough #NeverAgain #SaveOurChildren #NRANoWay

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