I know I said I was going to revisit my “What’s Right with Kids Today” article this week, but I decided to share my comments from this past Tuesday’s Board Meeting.

“I felt it was important to take a moment tonight to remember the victims of last week’s tragic shooting in Florida.  Our hearts break for the families and community affected by this senseless event.  As educators and parents, this pain, anger, worry and fear shake us to our very core.  In my years in education, I have seen this happen too many times, so, I empathize with these feelings; I have a daughter in elementary school, and two children at colleges hours away from home.  However, what gives me a positive outlook, what bolsters me, is what I know about CV.  I know that our children are surrounded by caring adults who have their best interest, and their safety, at the forefront.  We have security systems in place: cameras, automated locks, a school resource officer, and staff trained in responses to any number of situations, to include violent intruders.  I also know that we have made a conscious decision to connect with “every child, every day.”  My vision statement of “every child, every day” is one I have shared with the entire District.  It challenges us to build relationships with every child, every day, so that he or she knows that there is a trusted adult with whom to trust and confide.  By continuing to increase communication and relationships with our students, we can be more proactive to provide help to those who need it before it manifests itself in tragic ways.  We’ve even included behavioral health and mental health components as part of our District Goals.

Can I guarantee that nothing bad will happen to our children?  I wish I could.  But what I can guarantee is that every single day that our children come into any school at CV, he or she will be cared for, he or she will be in a safe and secure environment, and he or she will be surrounded by adults who will look out for them.  I guarantee that the CV community will continue to put our children first.  Not only are they our future, they are our now.

I have been getting emails and phone calls today stemming from a misleading report by the Lancaster Newspaper.  When questioned yesterday, I informed the reporter that CV had no walkouts/protests planned, and that I would be meeting with my admin team and student leaders during the week.  Imagine my surprise when I read that Conestoga Valley High School was registered for a walkout on March 14.  As I questioned the reporter about his source, he pointed me to a website that allows any one single individual to register an entire school to be part of the walkout.  So, basically, the reporter took the individual registration on a site to be the spokesperson for the District.

Here is what is really happening.  We are giving our students a voice.  I attended a regularly scheduled meeting that Mr. Thornton had with a group of student-leaders.  Discussion about school safety, planned walkouts/protests, and what is being done/can be done were topics discussed.  There will be a follow-up meeting with more student leaders later this week to talk about what to do, how to do it, the purpose and meaning behind all actions, as well a plan on how to get a message across in a civil and informative manner.  Does this mean that there will be a walkout?  Maybe.  Some other meaningful way to accomplish their vision?  Maybe.  That’s the great thing about this profession – the exchange of ideas with students.  It doesn’t always fit a deadline or a byline, but the results are often noteworthy!

Above all, no matter what the outcome, student safety remains our top priority.  I’ve been sending my children to public school for 20 years now (and 7 more years to go), and I trust the people who have watched over them, nurtured them, and helped them grow.  I know they have the best interest (and safety) at heart at all times.  So, thank you educators for doing your best to keep our children safe!”


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