March 9, 2018
Dear Wayland Families:
I am proud to work in a community that not only cares deeply for its children but helps them find their voices. Over the past ten days, as staff has listened to students and heard their reactions to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, we have felt your support.
As a teaching staff, our job is to facilitate and support your children’s understanding of the events and the free expression of their opinions but not to advocate for a particular stand on legislation. Wayland School Committee Policy articulates the teaching staff’s role when it states that the School District’s goal is “to provide an environment in which students can learn and practice personal and civic responsibility for their actions through meaningful experiences as school citizens.” (School Committee Policy Manual, JA) School Committee Policy also states that staff should express “concern for and attention to their own and the school system’s legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of students, including the need to ensure that students are under supervision at all times.” (School Committee Policy Manual, GBEB)
To create this safe and thoughtful climate, particularly in the context of national calls for student walkouts on March 14, the staff has listened closely to its students, tailoring its responses to their developmental needs. At the elementary level, teachers and administrators have addressed questions in an age-appropriate fashion on an individual basis. The elementary schools are not planning any school-wide memorial activities on March 14 at 10:00 a.m. At the middle school, during TAG time, staff have asked students if they had concerns or opinions about Parkland. In addition, if students have wished, WMS staff has provided additional time for further discussion in smaller groups. In response to the national focus on the Parkland tragedy on March 14, the Middle School staff will supervise students as they gather voluntarily at 10:00 a.m.. At the high school, teachers will supervise students who have structured a seventeen-minute optional gathering on March 14. At the gathering, students plan to remember the victims and may choose to respectfully express their opinions. Those who do not wish to participate in these school-sponsored events will be appropriately supervised in designated areas in their classrooms.
We will continue to work in close partnership with you and the entire Wayland community as we enable our students to express themselves powerfully and safely as citizens. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you wish to discuss this further. My phone number is 508-358-3774 and my email is email@example.com.
Arthur Unobskey, Superintendent of Schools