Dear IUSD Community,
The school shooting in Parkland, Florida has had a profound impact on many communities across the nation, spurring conversations and debate about school safety. Students, including our own here in Irvine, have become especially active in supporting discussion and recognition of this important issue.
Many of our high school students have reached out to school principals, teachers and staff regarding their desire to participate in the widely publicized nationwide school walkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on March 14, in honor of the 17 victims who lost their lives.
IUSD respects students’ First Amendment right, under federal and state law, to freedom of speech in the school environment. The March 14 event is entirely student-driven and voluntary – it is not sponsored by IUSD or our schools. In accordance with state law, we will not discipline students who choose to assemble, provided they adhere to District and school guidelines:
- All activities must be peaceful and respectful.
- At no time may students leave campus.
- Students must stay in the designated areas on campus, so as to not disrupt a safe and orderly educational environment for all students and school staff.
- Students may not exceed the identified break period and must return to class when instructed by school staff.
IUSD has received legal guidance from the Orange County Department of Education that school districts may provide appropriate time and place alternatives to ensure there will be no to minimal disruption to the instructional process. Principals from schools that are aware of planned student walkouts will be contacting their parent communities in the coming week to provide information about their campus.
To further support a safe campus environment, outside groups, parents/guardians, and other individuals, who do not have official school business will not be allowed on campus to participate in the walkouts. Anyone visiting school campuses for school-related matters or for volunteer work must check in with the front office
As with any important issue, we encourage you to have a conversation with your student and to make your own expectations clear to your child, related to these non-school sponsored activities. Principals and school staff, who have been approached by students, will continue to talk with them about this matter and will maintain open lines of communication with our parents.
The key to our strength as a District is in our name – it is the “US” in IUSD. Since our inception, the District’s success has been driven by talented teachers and support staff, an active parent community, and engaged and passionate students. Together, we will continue this proud tradition and navigate these important and difficult issues in a respectful and constructive manner. Thank you in advance for your continued support and partnership.
Terry L. Walker
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District