The students of Northshore are a bastion of bravery. During the Northshore school district’s meeting on Monday, February 26, numerous high school students from all over the district made their voices heard during Association and Public Comment. Before the students took the floor and invigorated the board members, President Sandy Hayes began by thanking the community for the recent outcome of the bills and levy vote by saying, “I just want to take a moment of presidential privilege up here and on behalf of everyone… to thank our community for once again supporting our district. This was probably a confusing time to make the decision to support us or not yet you all have. We are grateful you have placed your trust in us not only with your money but with your children. We are awed by this trust. We will be working to be worthy of this trust.”
The students then stood their ground. One after another, they addressed the council with their utmost concerns about the increasingly horrifying reality of school shootings in the United States. Following the young pioneers from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, thousands of Northshore students are planning to peacefully protest by walking out of class at 10:00a.m. on March 14 for 17 minutes: a minute for every person who lost their life in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High tragedy. The students eloquently detailed the realities in the world in which they live citing the most disconcerting statistics and elucidating their most disheartening concerns. Perhaps the most important being that some of the students themselves did not feel safe at school; they feel unsafe about getting an education. Student leaders were also adamant in stating they feel that arming teachers is not the answer.
Students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High have launched a social media campaign utilizing the hashtags “#WhatIf” and “#NeverAgain” to build momentum and pressure congress to reform gun laws. The campaign has gained significant steam and has no signs of slowing. It is important to note that thousands of students and others will be marching on Washington D.C. on March 24 in support of the March for Our Lives movement.
Because the student walkout had not been discussed in an official capacity and was not on the agenda, the board did not take any official action supporting or opposing the planned walkout although many community leaders, teachers, and officials made their personal statements supporting the students and their cause.
After, the board had a timely presentation of Safety & Security, Preparation and Planning. Northshore’s overview for their plan is broken into four pieces: Prevention & Mitigation, Preparation, Incident Response, and Recovery. There is a heavy emphasis on planning and training that run through the system. As of February 20, there have been 171 drills, district wide with 100% of schools having received Active Threat Training, conducted lockdown drills, and conducted evacuation drills.
The board went on to discuss some of their recent successes. With a school district that has over 22,000 students they have only had one expulsion district wide. “We’re really staying connected with the kids and the parents,” stated superintendent Dr. Michelle Reid. Amy Cast also shared her appreciation for the community when she added, “The state does not give us any funds for our buildings. If it wasn’t for our voters approving our bond, we would not have the money to make these security changes that we so desperately need.”