Police to be present at Massena Central during March 14 walkout to honor students killed in Florida shooting
MASSENA — Students at Massena Central School join other St. Lawrence County students who plan to walk out of class for 17 minutes Wednesday in honor of those killed in the massacre at the Parkland high school earlier this year.
Students at Canton, Norwood-Norfolk and Brasher Falls school districts are holding walk outs or sit-ins as part of a nationwide event as schools across the United States. To read that story, click here.“As you are likely aware, there is a nationwide call for a student walkout on March 14th and April 20th to call attention to the issue of school shootings,” MCS Superintendent Pat Brady said in a prepared statement.
In an effort to keep students safe, local police will have a "known presence" at the school Wednesday, Brady said.
“The building principals and counselors have met with student leaders to communicate on these issues and the Massena Police Department will be present at the schools to support our efforts to maintain safety,” he said. “Our administration has been discussing these potential demonstration at length including conversations with teachers, students, and parents. We have also received advice from counsel and collaborated with regional superintendents."
Brady said they school’s first concern is student safety during these events as well as balancing student free speech rights with the disruption of education that can be caused by such demonstrations.
Brady said that school districts don’t engage in protests, however, students have a free speech right and may express their political viewpoint, if it doesn’t present a material or substantial disruption to the learning environment.
“We will encourage our students to assemble indoors and will provide a space for them to gather,” he said.
School officials will help students who are committed to taking action to think about how to make it a productive learning experience and how to respect the rights of those students choosing not to protest, Brady added. “This is an opportunity to apply the citizenship lessons they are learning in school.”
MCS staff will be prepared to ensure that any demonstration is orderly and safe, he said.
“District policies will be followed including access to campus by the community,” Brady said. “No parents or community members will be allowed on campus during such events unless authorized by administration.”