BPS Parents Throw Support Behind Students

National School Walkout Planned for Wednesday

Mike Baggerman
March 13, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Jessica Bauer Walker (at podium) among the parents supporting students for Wednesday's walkout (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Parents, teachers, and anti-gun violence advocates are throwing their support behind Buffalo Public Schools students who are participating in Wednesday's national school walkout day.

"We would like to make sure students know they are supported by adults in the community," Jessica Bauer Walker, executive director of the Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo and a parent of two elementary school students, said. "If they choose to take action, we're here to support them."

Bauer Walker said gun violence is a public issue in the country and that guns kill 38,000 people every year and injure thousands more. 

"I'm incredibly inspired by the youth across this nation and locally who are armed with information, courage, compassion, diplomacy, and resourcefulness as they mobilize to (start) real change in legislation and in our policy regarding guns " Larry Scott, Co-Chair of the Buffalo Parent Teacher Association and parent of two elementary school students, said. "They are truly a force to be reckoned with."

Among the schools whose students are reportedly planning a walkout are Bennett High School, Frederick Law Olmsted 156, and Leonardo da Vinci High School. Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts are also reportedly participating in the walkouts. 

The aforementioned parents all have children who are in elementary school. Bauer Walker said that she is unaware of any elementary schools who are participating in the walkout.

"I think there's aged appropriate ways to make sure students stay safe," Bauer Walker said. "I think it's more of a movement among high school students and there's some sort of recognition and other activities the may happen inside schools for students."

The walkouts on Wednesday are scheduled to last 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims in the February 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  

Also joining in the support were the Buffalo NAACP, Buffalo Teacher's Federation, and the National Action Network, an anti-gun violence advocacy group. 

Buffalo Public School issued the following letter to schools and parents regarding Wednesday's planned walkout

Dear BPS Community,

March 14 has been designated as a day for students across the nation to honor the lives that were lost in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. With the nation’s attention focused on issues of school gun violence, student safety and civic engagement, this is a tragic but teachable moment for our students – and for all of us.

While our policies do not allow us to condone or participate in a walkout, as some have called for, we can offer an affirmative message to your students that we, like they, are grieving and angry about yet one more mass shooting in a school. Our expectation throughout the district is that time is spent on age-appropriate lessons about what constitutes a safe and inclusive learning environment.  We encourage students to express their views and we encourage proactive civic engagement on this issue.

We are providing separate and age appropriate guidance for school principals at the elementary and secondary levels regarding their plans for school-wide events on March 14.  Observances and educational opportunities will take place at 10 a.m. and last 17 minutes in honor of the 17 students and educators who lost their lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

This teachable moment may take the form of students and staff holding discussions, joining hands in the hallway, or some other activity. Be assured that any planned events will take place under the watchfulness of BPS Security and the Buffalo Police Department.  Students will be strongly encouraged to stay inside the school building and return to class once the observance ceremony concludes.

No student or school employee should ever feel unsafe when they walk into any classroom or office in the Buffalo Public Schools. We will continue to take strong, collaborative measures to ensure our schools are safe, welcoming and engaging for everyone.

LISTEN: Parents, Teachers, Advocates throw their support behind students who will demonstrate on Wednesday

Walkout Support - Presser RAW.mp3


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