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MS Letter to Parents March 9

March 12, 2018

Dear OWWMS Families,

The Oliver W. Winch Middle School Building Leadership Team and administration has worked to develop several opportunities for meaningful reflection on March 14th to memorialize and honor the victims of violence at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. As a building, we believe that coming together to support Stoneman Douglas HS, as well as strengthening ourselves as a school community through acts of caring and kindness, is an appropriate and meaningful way to recognize the call to action next Wednesday.

On March 14th, we will have a 17-second moment of silence to represent the 17 victims at Stoneman Douglas HS at the beginning of the day, and I will make a short statement over the PA. During all lunches, there will be a large banner in support of Stoneman Douglas HS that students can sign to show Bulldog support through messages of kindness, caring, and compassion for the students, staff, and families of that community. In addition, members of our school community can choose to wear orange, which has been identified as a national symbol of solidarity in the movement to stop gun violence.

We have all been saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Parkland, and we certainly feel the results of that tragedy more keenly as we come to work and school together each day at OWWMS. While this is an opportunity for us to reflect together on the preciousness of life and the importance of taking care of each other, it is also a reminder to be diligent and mindful of safety and security in our building. As always, our first priority is the safety of every one of our students on a daily basis, and we continue to work together as a staff and with law enforcement in order to ensure that our processes and procedures for remaining safe and secure are up-to-date and effective.

We do not believe that a walkout is safe. We do believe that, developmentally, middle school students benefit from perspective and guidance offered through dialogue with adults. In addition, the National School Walkout has been broadcast around the world. Someone could know, with great certainty, that OWWMS students will be outside and vulnerable that day and time, and this is a scenario that we are not willing to risk. Finally, a school walkout has been deemed as a disruption and a violation of school policy according to law. The program developed for us is about building a safe, kind, and responsive community.

In conclusion, I would ask that you have ongoing conversations with your children. Ask them how they feel about what is happening and if they feel connected to our school. If you have questions, please know that I am available to answer your questions, and our school counselors are always available for student and family support.

Tim Dawkins
Oliver W. Winch MS

Category: Archive