In an email sent on February 28th, 2018, California State PTA offered guidance and resources for local PTA leaders and members regarding planned student walkouts and marches. Please take a moment to read this important information:
We’ve heard the voices of our members – the hundreds of thousands of parents, teachers, students, administrators and community members who are outraged at the senseless shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida that took the lives of 17 students and faculty members. Our students across the nation are using their powerful voices to ask for meaningful policy changes at the state and federal level to address the all too common issue of gun violence that is affecting them in the place they should feel safest: their school.
The following are walkouts and marches we are currently aware of:
- Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are planning to march in Tallahassee the week of February 20
- On March 14, students and teachers are planning to walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes to honor the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This event is being planned in part by the organizers of the Women’s March
- On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC. March For Our Lives is created and led by students across the country
- Another National High School Walkout is planned at 10 a.m. on April 20, which will mark the 19th year since the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
California State PTA supports the rights of students to express themselves on campus through organized demonstrations, but believes that care must be taken to ensure the orderly operation of the school is not disrupted and the physical safety of students is not threatened. Leaving during school hours to attend an off-campus demonstration places the student outside the safety zone of the school and unnecessarily jeopardizes that school’s education funding.
We entrust our students to their school leadership to ensure a safe environment for their voices to be heard. Be sure to talk with your local school district about possible student demonstrations that may affect your school or community.
PTAs can be involved in and support the efforts of our students so that their voices can be amplified. The following guidelines should be followed:
- Any event needs to be approved by a vote of the respective PTA
- A PTA spokesperson should be appointed and messaging should be based on PTA’s authorities including adopted resolutions and positions statements that can be found on the California State PTA website at www.capta.org and the National PTA website at www.pta.org. Please note, the California State PTA Board of Managers recently adopted a revised position statement on Firearms and Assault Weapons
- If a PTA is participating in an event held by another organization, it is important to ensure that the other organization is aligned with PTA authorities. If your PTA is planning to distribute information about another group’s event in person or through a PTA distribution list, you must have the approval of your association. If you are attending on behalf of PTA or representing PTA, you must have the approval of your association
- The safety of our members and students needs to be a priority when evaluating participation in any event.
California State PTA is asking for your help to “call out” federal lawmakers on March 14 to demand stronger gun-violence prevention legislation, including:
- Prohibiting the sale and possession of assault weapons including automatic and semi-automatic weapons
- Mandatory background checks
- Waiting periods for all firearm purchases.
- California State PTA Position Statement “Firearms and Assault Weapons”
- California State PTA Position Statement “Student Participation in Public Demonstrations”
- National PTA Position Statement “Gun Safety and Violence Prevention”
- Checklist to Prevent Violence in Schools
- National PTA FAQs on Gun Violence
- National PTA Press Statement
- Talking Points for PTAs – Gun Violence and Student Voice
- Proposition 63 “The Safety for All Act of 2016” Support Full Analysis