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AISD Message to Parents Regarding Gun Protest

On Friday, students across America will once again be staging large protests against guns through class walkouts, and the Austin school district is trying the stay ahead of it.  Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz has sent a letter home to parents informing them of the preparations, as well as to let them know of the potential repercussions and safety concerns:

Dear Austin ISD students and families,

It is anticipated that some of our students and staff may participate in the National School Walkout on April 20.

As students raise their voices, we understand there are many questions regarding their actions in this or any future demonstration. Austin ISD has created a Frequently Asked Question tool (below) to share important information and processes with our community.

Austin ISD has more than 81,000 students who come to school each day to learn, excel and prepare for their futures. We believe finding their voice is an essential part of our students’ preparation for college, career and life.

It is important for families to have conversations with their students about expectations, safety and appropriate methods to express their views. We recognize that emotions are charged in regard to school violence and we respect the different perspectives of students and families. As always, the safety of our students is our top priority. Please remember that if you or your child see something, say something.

Supporting our children with positive and open conversations is key to helping them deal with uncertainty. We will continue collaborating with our students and staff to create safe and positive learning environments.

Respectfully,

Paul Cruz, Ph.D

Superintendent

  

Q1) Why is AISD staff writing this FAQ? 

A1) We are aware of a National School Walkout planned for April 20, 2018 leading up to an event that begins downtown at 1 p.m. We are planning in advance of the event and are taking steps to be prepared for possible student and staff participation. 

   

Q2) Will we follow a regular schedule and hours on this day? 

A2) Yes, all start times, lunches, activities and transportation times will continue on a normal schedule. 

  

Q3) Will students who walkout be counted as excused or unexcused? 

A3) While students may choose to participate in a student-led demonstration, students will receive an unexcused absence for classes missed. 

  

Q4) Can parents write a note for students to be excused? 

A4) A walkout for a protest is an unexcused absence. 

  

Q5) Will a student be disciplined by the AISD staff for walking out? 

A5) If students are exercising their right to protest in a peaceful manner, this precludes the student from receiving any disciplinary action other than their absence from the class being marked as unexcused.   

  

Q6) Will administrators or teachers supervise students during a student-led demonstration? 

A6) Staff will only supervise students while they are on campus. 

  

Q7) Will AISD police escort students? 

A7) The school district does not have the resources to allow officers to leave their assigned campus during the school day. Students should use extreme caution once they have left their campus. 

   

Q8) Will the district provide transportation to the event? 

A8) No. We will be running our standard bus transportation operations and do not have the capacity to provide transportation to the event. 

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