Follow Up on Safety Meeting and School Walkout

Dear EVCS Family,

We had a good turnout of parents, teachers and staff on Wednesday morning for our open forum on school safety. The conversation was positive and productive, as usual. And while it’s difficult to arrive at a place of absolute consensus around such a complex and emotionally charged issue as this, there were clear areas where we were all in agreement.

We all feel strongly that our kids should always feel safe at school. Any discussion, curriculum or action we take in response to this or other school shootings, should not only help kids make sense of the world we live in, but also instill or reinforce the idea that their parents, teachers, and school staff are in charge and taking care to keep everyone safe. It can also help them to feel empowered by the notion that they can use their voices to show support for victims and their families and change things in our world that are clearly not OK. Yet, many parents of students of all ages at our school feel unsure about their own children’s readiness to process a violent tragedy such as this. Most of the parents in attendance said that they either have not spoken to their children about school shootings, or they have done so very carefully. There was a common feeling among many in attendance that direct discussion of school shootings in school, or a large scale action such as a walkout might actually work against our goal of helping kids to feel safe, and cause them to feel scared and unsafe. The last thing we would want to do is contribute to the collective fear and anxiety our kids may already be experiencing.

To that end, EVCS will not be organizing any sort of unified action on March 14th during the national walkout. However, if any parents are interested in having their kids participate as individuals in the walkout they will be supported by our school. Parents would need to sign their kids out of the office if they want to participate. On a personal note I want to let you know that as an educator and as a father, I plan to walk out for the 17 minutes on Wednesday in honor of the victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and in support of ending gun violence in schools. My daughter Roxy will stay in school with her teachers and classmates. If anyone wants to join me – with our without your kids – I’d love your company. We can meet in front of the school at 9:45 and walk to Tompkins Square Park, where we’ll sing This Little Light of Mine under the “Hare Krishna” elm tree.

There is also an interest in gathering a group to march together at the March for our Lives rally on Saturday the 24th. Be on the lookout for more information about that.

I always appreciate being a part of this wonderful community. But it’s moments like this, when we are confronted so directly with the violent and awful realities of our world, that I take tremendous solace in all the goodwill, kindness, fellowship and joy that we have here at EVCS. We are truly lucky.

As ever,

Bradley