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CHTU Update - Supporting Student Voices - March 5, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Over the last 19 years we have witnessed countless school shooting tragedies throughout our country.  The slaughter of 17 lives in Florida in February 2018 was different because of the public outrage shown by student activists toward the inability of elected officials reduce the carnage.

The students in our district at the middle and high schools are interested in making their voices and concerns heard regarding this national debate.  Building representatives and officers have voted to empower union leadership to endorse and support student actions for March 14 and April 20, two dates that commemorate school shootings. Student protests, walkouts, or other actions that are initiated, led, and organized by students can have a powerful impact.  We encourage students to work together with administration and/or teacher advisors to shape meaningful and safe actions that express outrage at the inhumanity and waste of potential that occurs when gun violence in schools occurs.

For our members, supporting students may be as advisors, to ensure the meaning is not lost on anyone.  If students walk out of school as an action, then we can support them by treating the absence as excused.  If all students in a class are protesting, then the teacher may consider joining them to be part of their event.  It also means that we should not be recruiting students to participate in an action, nor leading our classes to walk out.  In fact, it is important that students not interested in being part of an action have their choice respected and are supervised.

At this point, administrations at both the high school and middle school are advising students groups on options for meaningful actions.  We are hopeful that students will make wise choices, seek guidance when needed, and ensure that their actions speak to the issues of gun violence in schools.

At this point we have not been informed of any plans for actions at the elementary schools for March 14.  Once our Executive Board has met on March 15th we may have suggestions for actions we can all participate in for April 20, a day that the American Federation of Teachers has called for a Day of Action.


In Union,

Ari Klein

CHTU President

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