March 7, 2018 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend School District sent a note to parents today notifying them about a potential student walkout next week.
According to School Board member Joel Ongert, “This is a national thing and we have not heard much chatter about it in our district with our middle or high school kids,” he said.
The letter was initiated by Laura Jackson Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning/ Lead District Administrator. “Laura felt we need to let parents know we are aware of this and here are our expectations of students,” Ongert said.
The district reportedly took its cue on the walkout from social media. “We’ve been in touch with West Bend P.D. to make sure kids are safe,” said Ongert.
When questioned who is in charge in the West Bend School District, Ongert said Laura Jackson is in charge.
“Laura has been asking principals, homeroom teachers and to see if kids are talking about this and if they want to participate and we want to be prepared,” he said. “If there’s a national campaign for a walkout we want to make sure if our kids participate they’re going to be safe.”
Questioned whether students are safer during the day in school or out of school Ongert said “in school, absolutely.”
Questioned whether this will disrupt education that day, Ongert said “we certainly hope it won’t disrupt.”
In Slinger Superintendent Daren Sievers said they too have heard about the day to bring national attention to school safety and the concerns following the school shooting in Florida.
“What we’re doing is we’re trying to channel the kids to do something positive,” he said.
At 10 a.m. on March 14 students in the Slinger School District will be participating in a school-wide moment of silence for 17 seconds.
“Mr. Ourada will go on the P.A. and announce the 17 students lost in the Florida shooting and then at lunch we’ll have banners where the kids can come write down a pledge in support of eliminating school violence,” said Sievers.
A couple of students at Slinger High School will also release 17 balloons following the moment of silence.
Administrators and teachers at West Bend Joint School District #1, West Bend East High School, West Bend West High School, and Badger Middle School are aware of the potential peaceful school walkout on March 14 at 10 a.m. by students to show their concerns about school safety.
The West Bend School District will not penalize students who choose to assemble peacefully for 17 minutes on
March 14. After talking with students and staff, the school principals have developed plans to maintain the safety of the participating and non-participating students and to minimize interference with educational programming.
Those students who wish to participate in the walkout will be monitored and supervised by school staff to ensure that any walkout is safe and orderly. The West Bend Police Department will also help to ensure the safety of students to assemble in predesignated areas.
Students who choose to participate will be expected to return to class in a timely manner and resume the school day. Students who fail to return to class will be considered truant in violation of school rules. For students who choose not to participate, school administrators and teachers are planning for classroom instruction to continue.
No media will be allowed on school grounds during this event to help maintain the safety of all involved.