SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - An email on Thursday from South Orange Maplewood School District (SOMSD) Interim Superintendent Thomas Ficarra states that "Friday, April 20th, will be a full and regular day at all SOMSD schools."
Friday, April 20, is planned as a day of action in some school communities, and Students Demand Action Essex County has an event planned in Bloomfield's Brookdale Park from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The full email from Ficarra is as follows:
Dear SOMSD Families,
You may have heard that another National School Walk Out Day is planned for tomorrow, Friday, April 20, 2018.
SOMSD respects that students have constitutionally protected rights to assemble, speak, and petition the government. At the same time, as a school district, we must hold students accountable for class attendance.
For the first National School Walk Out Day on March 14th, organized activities were planned by students at secondary schools. Principals, administrators, and police coordinated efforts to ensure student and building safety and security during these observances.
Friday, April 20th, will be a full and regular day at all SOMSD schools. These are critical days of instruction and work for all of our students and teachers, with PARCC testing imminent for all students, and AP exams approaching at the high school.
Although our staff members are not involved in any student-organized protest for April 20th, Administrators will monitor and work to keep our students safe, should some choose to participate in the national observance.
Students, parents and guardians, please be cognizant that attendance for classes will still count, and any class in which a student is not present due to participation in the protest will be marked as an unexcused absence.
We thank you in advance for discussing this with your child, and for reminding them that, if they do choose to participate in the expected nationwide protest, they should do so respectfully and responsibly, and return to class immediately after the event. It is also important that all students fully understand that any classes missed will be recorded as unexcused absences, and any violations of the Code of Conduct will result in associated consequences.
Thank you for your partnership as we work to keep our students and staff safe, and minimize interruptions to the regular operations of our schools.
Dr. Thomas Ficarra