Eau Claire (WQOW) - In a letter sent to families in the Eau Claire Area School District Wednesday, Superintendent Mary Ann Hardebeck said the district cannot endorse a student walkout.
A walk out at Memorial High School is planned for Wednesday, March 14. According to the Facebook event page, the non-partisan event is meant to show support against gun violence to ensure safer schools and communities. Organizers say the walk out, which is open to all students and community members, will run from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. Students will meet at the eagle, march toward the English wing and back to Door 4. The walk will last 17 minutes and end with 17 seconds of silence, one for each of the 17 victims from the Parkland school shooting.
Superintendent Hardebeck said in her letter that students have a right to participate in activities, if their activities don't disrupt the instructional day or create an unsafe environment. She said after speaking with principals, ECASD administrators and teachers, local law enforcement and regional superintendents, there is a shared concern the event is an opportunity for an act of violence. She said keeping students safe is a priority in the district.
However, she said if a student chooses to walk out on March 14, school staff will not interfere or try to keep him or her in the school.
Hardebeck also said the district is bound by state law regarding student attendance at school. She said parents can choose to excuse their child from school that day if they wish. Student absences without approval will be recorded as unexcused.