An Independent School • Grades 5-12
March 14 student walkout at Lakeside
March 14 student walkout at Lakeside

by Bernie Noe, head of school

In response to the tragic shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., middle and high school students across the country are planning a number of actions. Through these actions, they hope to compel lawmakers at the local, state, and national levels to pass legislation that will restrict access to guns for some individuals and restrict the type of guns available to the general public, with the goal of making schools safer for all who attend and work in schools.

Next Wednesday, March 14, there will be a nationwide walkout of students from 10 to 10:17 a.m. to honor the 17 individuals who died in the Florida shooting and to protest governmental inaction on gun control measures. We expect a number of our Middle and Upper school students will leave classes during this time, and we will not impose disciplinary penalties on those students. We will ask all Middle School students who leave class to remain on the soccer field next to the school building, where they will be supervised by faculty members. Upper School students who leave class may stay on campus for the 17 minutes and return to class following their protest, or walk to Ingraham High School to participate with other students in the planned activities there. The day before the protest, we will remind Upper School students by email that for safety reasons, they should sign out when they leave for Ingraham and sign in when they return. At both Middle and Upper schools, teachers will remain in class with the students who do not leave class.

There are additional protests planned around the country on the following dates:

Saturday, March 24. March for Our Lives, a march in Washington, D.C., calls for legislation on gun control. Sister marches are planned, including in Seattle.

Friday, April 20. A high school walkout on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, from 10 to 10:17 a.m., will honor the 17 individuals who died in the Florida shooting.

It is our intent to support all of our students, both those who protest and those who do not. It is our mission to nurture in our students the capacity to offer wisdom, compassion, and leadership to a global society. We want our students to think critically about the issues of the day and to make their voices heard when they know it is important to do so. It is not our mission to promote liberal, conservative, or libertarian ideologies, and we will do our best to help our students come to their own conclusions and act on them when appropriate. Earlier this year, Upper School students selected gun control as the topic of a student-facilitated To Be Honest discussion.

Lakeside School is not taking a formal position on gun control issues, but we do support measures that increase the safety of students across the country. We encourage families to talk about this topic at home.

We have also reviewed our safety precautions at school and are doing all in our power to keep students safe while on campus. We regularly conduct safety drills of all types and continually improve our safety practices and procedures.

Thank you for reading, everyone.