SMMUSD issues Statement on Planned Student Climate Change Walkout Friday
"SMMUSD schools are not sanctioning, coordinating or facilitating any planned student walkouts."
September 18, 2019
**Email on behalf of Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati**
Superintendent's Message: Climate Strike - Friday, September 20, 2019
Dear parents, guardians, staff and community members,
We are aware that there is a Global Climate Strike planned for Friday, September 20th for youth and others to spread awareness of the climate crisis. The goal of the movement is for youth to take a stand for their health, future and climate justice.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District takes this issue seriously. We have implemented a sustainability plan districtwide that is making a positive impact on our schools and the communities we serve. Our Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution in March that calls for action on climate change.
There are many ways our schools may participate and support this movement. Several of our schools are planning in-school educational activities on Friday, which we support.
SMMUSD schools are not sanctioning, coordinating or facilitating any planned student walkouts. This includes elementary, middle and high schools. We are unable to support various strikes or protests, as this would be a big disruption to our teaching and learning programming on our campuses.
As for this and future "calls to action" of this nature, we do not have the capacity to supervise or monitor students who choose to leave school for this purpose and want to help parents understand that we cannot be responsible for your student outside of school, during an unauthorized walk out.
We are continuing our important work of educating students every day, including Friday, September 20th. Any student who is missing from class will be marked as an unexcused cut for the missing time. Students who leave school without permission are jeopardizing their own safety. As a parent, if you feel strongly about allowing your student to participate in any walk out, please sign them out of school. (This is recorded as a "parent excuse," considered an unexcused absence.)
We support opportunities for students to express themselves, regardless of their opinion, on various issues. There are a variety of opportunities to teach and model methods for effective civic engagement, while under our care and supervision at our school sites. We ask that students consider the impact on their education by choosing to leave school and encourage any outside activities be conducted under parent supervision, after school or weekends.
Educating your child is the most important work we do every day and we are looking forward to a productive school day on Friday and every day.
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent