Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students and staff are calling for an end to school violence and bullying while showing solidarity with the students and victims of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
All CCPS schools are participating in a See Something, Say Something campaign that includes lessons on the importance of reporting anything unusual to an adult as well as the introduction of a security advisory team and a website that will allow parents and students to anonymously report bullying or safety concerns. CCPS staff is testing the website and expects to launch it by the end of March.
Across the county this week, middle and high school principals and student leaders have planned alternative activities to walking out of class tomorrow as part of a national student protest. School-planned events allow for students’ voices to be heard without disrupting instruction or the school day, said Superintendent of Schools Kimberly Hill. Some examples of student activities include making banners, holding school safety programs and creating expressions of support for Stoneman Douglas students. Several schools have preplanned programs to take place during the lunch hour to memorialize the victims of Stoneman Douglas.
“We do not condone students walking out of class. We have provided alternatives to allow students to be heard. Students who choose to walk out of their classes will not be permitted to make up any work they miss. Students who disrupt the school day in any way will be subject to disciplinary consequences up to and including suspension,” Hill said.
Instead, each school has come up with unique ways to engage students and to help them advocate for school safety. At Milton M. Somers Middle School, students are creating and producing a video in which they will share their support for the Parkland, Fla., community. Matthew Henson Middle School staff has been conducting restorative circles during Husky (lunch) Time where students can share their feelings about school safety. And, at Mattawoman Middle School, students are participating in restorative circles to discuss school safety, writing letters and planning to observe a moment of silence at 10 a.m. on March 14.
Westlake High School has a weeklong schedule of activities and events to promote school safety and a positive school culture of kindness. Along with See Something, Say Something restorative circles and dangerous intruder and lockdown drills, students will have a 17-minute Wolverine (lunch) Time demonstration to offer a moment of silence and support for the Stoneman Douglas victims. North Point High School students have planned a program to take place during NEST (one-hour lunch) memorializing the victims of Stoneman Douglas and bringing attention to students’ desire to end violence in schools. At St. Charles and Henry E. Lackey high schools, students are creating banners of support for students and staff to sign, display at their school or send to students at Stoneman Douglas. At La Plata High School, students are working on a “Seventeen Words of Encouragement” project.
Hill announced today the creation of a CCPS Security Advisory Team that will consist of parents, staff and community members. This team will review our safety procedures and provide recommendations. Any member of the public who would like to be involved should contact Debbie Iverson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School safety is our job, Hill said. The Superintendent encourages students, staff, parents and community members to say something if they see something that might compromise school security.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.