Menomonee Falls superintendent: Walking out without parental permission is unexcused absence
MENOMONEE FALLS — School District of Menomonee Falls Superintendent Dr. Pat Greco in a letter to families has clarified the district’s policy on student walkouts, as students across the country have been walking out of class to demand tougher gun laws in response to the deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida. Some schools are threatening them with harsh punishments. There is a nationwide walkout planned for March 14.
Dr. Greco, in her letter, noted that the School District of Menomonee Falls “does not advocate student demonstrations be held during school time and cannot condone students walking out of school in an unsupervised environment while parents expect them to be in school.”
Students who do not receive parental permission to take part in a walkout will receive an unexcused absence, she said.
Dr. Greco noted in her letter that school administrators “value student voice on hard topics,” and students are encouraged to share their input with school leaders. She said the district hosts focus groups on key topics, and they’re planning student/parent forums in conjunction with police to take place within the next month “month to share our safety measures, personally answer questions and seek additional input.”
Below is Dr. Greco’s complete letter to families:
“Dear Falls Families,
The national conversation around school safety is raising topics we want you to be informed of and ask that you stay involved. Students across the country are considering school walk outs as a means to have their voices heard. We feel it is important to address this topic with you directly.
We value student voice on hard topics and encourage our students to share their input with us and their legislators. We do not advocate student demonstrations be held during school time and cannot condone students walking out of school in an unsupervised environment while parents expect them to be in school.
School and community safety are critical. Over the last week, we’ve had countless conversations with parents, students and community members around school safety and these insights are incredibly valuable. Each message we take seriously. We continue to work hard with our police department to ensure the national guidelines for safety are fully implemented and we are always willing to answer questions.
We host student focus groups on key topics. Our high school principals have checked in with each classroom to see if our students have any insights or questions we can answer. We welcome students to share their input, feedback and concerns with school staff at any time. We also encourage them to share their input with their state and national legislators.
Police Chief Anna Ruzinski and I are planning for student and parent forums within the next month to share our safety measures, personally answer questions and seek additional input. This will be another opportunity for us to gather feedback.
Our focus will remain student safety and an environment where it is safe to share student input. If a student chooses to leave school, parents must provide permission or it would be considered an unexcused absence. This policy will hold true for students participating in a walk out. Parents and school staff are partners in ensuring student safety.
As always, I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
Thank you for being a part of our Falls Family,
Dr. Patricia Fagan Greco
Superintendent of Schools
School District of Menomonee Falls”