March 2, 2018
From the desk of the Superintendent
Dear Parents/Guardians and Community Members,
In the aftermath of the recent school violence in Parkland, Florida, there emerged a pervasive feeling in the education community of the need to “do something” as a statement in support of the victims, their families and community, and to take a stand against such brutality. Seventeen innocent lives were lost that day, and the cry of Never Again is resonating in schools, including our Upper Dublin High School and Sandy Run Middle School.
March 14th has been designated as a day of recognition of the lives lost and support for efforts to enact legislation addressing several issues: mental health supports, school security, and regulation of firearms.
Our students, faculty and administrators at Upper Dublin High School and Sandy Run Middle School have been working collaboratively to develop plans for an event on March 14. Their planning has been thoughtful and carefully considered, and I want to inform our community of what will occur at those schools on that morning. There will be no events held at any of our elementary schools.
At UDHS student leaders will make an announcement shortly before 10:00 and all students interested in taking part will move to the school parking lot for a program that is planned to last for 17 minutes. Several students will make brief speeches in support of the Parkland families and against violence and bullying. Attendance at this event will be limited to our students and school personnel. The Upper Dublin Police Department will be present and will stand with our administrators to support our students. Students choosing to remain in the building will report to the auditorium where they will be supervised during the program.
At SRMS following an announcement at 10:00, all students who wish to participate will move to the grassy islands in front of each building. For 17 minutes those gathered will reflect quietly on the importance of safety in our schools and our communities, and remember the 17 lives lost in Parkland. As with the high school activity this will not be a community event and will be limited to students and faculty. The Upper Dublin Police Department will be present and will limit access to our school property during the event. Students who wish to remain inside will gather in a large group area, either the cafeteria or auditorium. No instruction will take place during these 17 minutes.
I am impressed by the desire of our students to have voice in the conversations that are swirling about us regarding past and recent episodes of violence in schools. I am even more impressed by the care that has been devoted by them to planning for what are intended as substantive yet measured and peaceful events on March 14.
Members of our school community continue to ask important questions about how we maintain a safe and supportive environment in our schools, and our administrators welcome the opportunity to respond to all questions and concerns. It is our shared hope that our students will continue to participate in a nationwide process of eliminating violence in our schools. Thank you to our parents, guardians and community members for your continued and ongoing support of our students and our Upper Dublin schools.
Deborah S. Wheeler, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools