September 23 Demonstration

September 23 Demonstration
Posted on 09/23/2021
PHHS LogoDear Families,

Earlier today, a small group of students exited our school building and held a non-threatening demonstration outside regarding mental health awareness. In accordance with our established protocols, our immediate focus was to ensure the safety of all students. At the conclusion of the demonstration, students were directed to return to the school building. Unfortunately, a small group of students refused to return to the school building, requiring additional supervision for safety purposes.

As a school and as a school division, we, too, are focused on mental health and have worked diligently in this area to better serve our students, families, and community. Additionally, we respect all of our students’ right to free speech, freedom of expression, and civic responsibility. However, we also believe that maintaining safety and a productive learning environment is our first priority. We take this very seriously.

During the course of the demonstration, instruction for the students who did not participate proceeded as normal and without disruption. At no time were students or staff in the building in danger. We would like to express our appreciation to the vast majority of our students who chose not to engage in this unapproved activity.

As we have seen recently, school safety is of paramount importance and leaving our school building during the instructional day is simply not safe, no matter how well-intentioned the cause may be. Students are expected to follow all behavior and attendance requirements (as outlined in the Code of Student Conduct) by reporting to and staying in their designated, supervised areas during instructional time. We also remind students that they are not permitted outside of the school unsupervised as a matter of safety. Students who do not follow these expectations will be held accountable for their actions in accordance with the Code of Student Conduct.

As always, we are committed to helping our students learn about civic engagement and stand ready to help them navigate important, complex, and difficult issues, such as mental health, by finding opportunities to give voice to their feelings and perspectives without compromising safety and interrupting our instructional focus. We ask that students reach out to me or any administrator with ideas that will strengthen our community in positive ways around this or any other topic. Individual students or student groups that wish to organize activities during non-instructional time, such as during lunch or before or after school, are encouraged to connect with our school’s club sponsors or administration.

We sincerely appreciate your support of our efforts to maintain a safe, healthy, and enriching learning environment. Have a good evening.

Sincerely,

Chris Martinez
Principal
Patrick Henry High School
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