1. This is primarily student led and we should follow the children's lead in terms of how they want to present their understanding and also honor their decision not to participate.
2. While this walkout is being used as a vehicle to stop gun violence, we need to frame it for our youngest student's, as a way to advocate for safe schools. How each family decides to broach the intense issue of gun violence with their children is a personal choice. Delving deeply into the context with our youngest students has the potential to create more anxiety and fear. As such, for those who ultimately participate, we are simply conveying a message of safety. Those who choose to walkout, are asking that our government, our neighbors, our teachers and staff and our families, work hard at making schools the safest places in our community and to say that we support improving safety in schools. Everyone has a right to safety and peace and this is a means to bringing awareness to that message.
3. Remind students that our schools are safe. We work hard to create safety in our schools and there are many measures this community takes to ensure that safety.
4. If children want to learn more, teach in an age appropriate, non fearful way. If you are struggling with this concept at hope, work with your child's school, law enforcement or local mental health agency for ideas how to best present it and make it a true learning opportunity. If you specifically want to broach the issues of gun violence here is an age by age guide for children published in USA Today.
Former US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch said, "No matter who we are or where we live, we all share a basic concern for the safety and well-being of our young people. Their welfare is the most telling measure of our nation's success - and their potential is the most promising element of its future. It is up to us - all of us - to safeguard that future." For those who participate this Wednesday, that is the message I will share with them. That we all are responsible for creating safe schools. From our youngest student to our principal, we all play a role. And while this protest is asking something very specific, the message we can send this Wednesday, is that we all can contribute to our community to make this a safer school. When the 17 minutes have expired and students return to class, what choices will they make to create that safe space? That is the teaching we can and should do every day.