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A letter from the Superintendent (Student demonstrations on March 14)
Published on Mar 8, 2018 19:16

March 8, 2018

Dear CV Parents/Guardians:

As you may be aware, there are plans nationwide to hold various non-violent demonstrations on March 14, 2018. As part of the First Amendment rights, students are entitled to participate in such events. 

As a school district, we are neither promoting nor supporting the events scheduled for this date. All efforts of participation will be student-led and student-organized. As a part of this planning, we will ensure that students who are not interested in participating will be properly supervised. 

One of the main safety concerns with these planned events is that students are being encouraged to leave classrooms and gather together outside at a set time. This plan raises operational safety concerns and opens participants to an added level of risk. The safest place for students is in the classroom. However, as student-leaders from Cumberland Valley High School have indicated their intent to participate in this peaceful demonstration, administration is making appropriate plans to protect their safety. 

Students who are operating outside of the parameters conveyed by student-leaders to district administration will face consequences beyond a warning. Parameters include an orderly exit from the classroom at the established time, respectful behavior during the demonstration, and an immediate and orderly return to class as soon as the demonstration ends. Any impromptu demonstrations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Should parents/guardians decide to choose alternative options for their students, I would remind you of the following parameters:

1. Parents are free to use educational trips to take their students to rallies or events.
2. If parents choose to keep their students home on the day of this well-planned and publicized demonstration, those absences will be excused as long as students provide the proper documentation and follow procedures outlined in the student handbooks.

We encourage parents to please talk with your children about civility, respect, and appropriate discourse. Acknowledge to them that we live in a society with many deeply held and diverse viewpoints which can sometimes be at odds. At school, we strive to teach students to respectfully disagree when voicing their opinions and values.  Furthermore, we respectfully ask you to model the type of behavior we expect from our kids.  Be civil to one another.  Verbal attacks (in person or online) only polarize; respectful and appropriate discourse can help reduce feelings of anger and isolation that can lead to violence. We appreciate the help and guidance you have provided to your children during this very trying time. 

I would like to thank the administrative team, the staff within our school district, our emergency responders, and local superintendents, for their collaboration and their efforts to keep our students safe. Please do not hesitate to contact your school administrator, counselor, another caring adult, or myself with any additional concerns or questions.

Sincerely,

Frederick Withum, III, Ed.D.
Superintendent

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