SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) sent an email to parents on Thursday, March 1, outlining district policies for students participating in the National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14 at 10 a.m.

The email from the SOMSD stated that the district is planning "to support student participation while also ensuring student safety," and will "provide students with an opportunity to participate in the national observance with activities on school property."

Any students participating will not be marked absent or disciplined, according to the email from the SOMSD.

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For students choosing not to participate, "their choice will be respected and we will provide appropriate adult supervision," stated the email.

The full SOMSD email is below:

Dear SOMSD Community,

You may have heard about the National School Walkout being planned for March 14 at 10 a.m. This is a national, student-powered initiative, intended to spark action to keep our schools and our communities safe from gun violence.  SOMSD has been working with the Police Departments in both towns, as we plan how to support student participation while also ensuring student safety.

SOMSD schools will provide students with an opportunity to participate in the national observance with activities on school property. 

Elementary Schools – schools are devising plans which are developmentally appropriate and build on existing efforts to promote kindness, belongingness, inclusion, community, and school safety.  Please note: Marshall and Montrose are not planning to participate, given the young age of all of their students.

Middle Schools – activities are being planned by students, who are consulting with administration to ensure that the plans protect student safety.

High School – Student groups are working together with the leadership of the CHS Student Council to plan for CHS’s participation.  The organizers are coordinating with CHS administration, in order to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Please note: these events are mostly being planned by students, and are intended for students.  We ask that parents/guardians and other adults not attempt to participate in these school-based events, since adults joining in would create security risks.

We have been asked if students will be subject to disciplinary action or “cuts” if they choose to participate.  These events are supported by the schools and the district, and students who choose to participate will not be marked absent or disciplined. If any students choose not to participate, their choice will be respected and we will provide appropriate adult supervision.

If you have questions about the specific plans for your school, please contact your principal.

Sincerely,

South Orange Maplewood School District