Update January 16th, 2024: FHSD clarifies that “Walk outs” are treated as absences subject to normal rules
As passionate supporters of academic excellence and education, we are reaching out to you today to ask for 5 minutes of your time to help advocate for the fair and equal treatment of our students.
You may have seen the recent misleading media coverage of our board members removing the “Social Justice” standards from the Black History and Black Literature Courses and its CRT based focus on: Identity, Intersectionality, Identity-based power structures, and Student activism. The administration has committed to update the Black History / Literature curriculum to remove these standards so that they can continue to be offered.
This Thursday, January 18th, students at the district’s three high schools will be protesting the superintendent’s commitment to create “politically neutral” curriculum and according to their flyers state, “It is important to note that it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to teach Black history in a politically neutral way”. While we appreciate the importance of fostering an environment which encourages critical thinking and free expression, we believe in equal enforcement of the district code of conduct policies. According to the student organizers of this protest, high school administrators have stated that participating students will have no disciplinary consequences for missing classes. Allowing students to miss classroom instruction to engage in protest activities without consequences during school hours sets a precedent that certain students receive special treatment and priority over others.
We have drafted an email template expressing our opposition to this decision by administration, which we kindly request you to send to the school district administrators. Your participation will play a critical role in showcasing the collective stance of our community against the unequal application of code of conduct policy our district students. Please take a moment to personalize the template attached to this email to reflect your own thoughts and concerns. We encourage you to include any personal anecdotes or experiences that highlight the importance of equal application of disciplinary policy to your students.
Dr. Kenneth Roumpous, Francis Howell School District Superintendent
Dr. David Wedlock, Francis Howell High School Principal
Dr. Suzanne Leake, Francis Howell Central High School Principal
Mr. Jeffrey Fletcher, Francis Howell North High School Principal
Subject: January 18th “Walk-out” violates student code of conduct
Dear Dr. Kenneth Roumpos,
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the decision of district administrators to allow students to participate with no repercussions in a protest on 1/18/2023 during school hours. While I appreciate the importance of fostering an environment that encourages critical thinking and free expression, I believe in equal enforcement of the district code of conduct policies.
Allowing students to miss classroom instruction to engage in protest activities without consequences during school hours sets a precedent that certain students receive special treatment and priority over others. I am concerned about high school administrators refusing to equally apply district’s code of conduct to all students, as it has been documented on social media as well as during prior protests, students will not be disciplined for this disruption of the school day. For example, participating students should have to follow the established district procedures and sign out from school if they wish to participate in the protest. Additionally, student protest participants should be subjected to the same rules that apply for after school sports and activities. Finally, district administrators are giving an special privilege to participating students who traditionally would be marked absent for class, and responsible for homework missed
Next, it is crucial to consider the potential safety concerns associated with allowing students to leave their classrooms and participate during school hours. Supervision and accountability become more challenging when students are freely roaming school grounds, potentially exposing them to safety risks that could have serious consequences.
I understand the importance of supporting students’ right to expression, however, it is equally important to have consistent enforcement of district policies and procedures. I kindly request that the district administration reconsider the decision to allow without consequences protests during school hours and explore alternative means of promoting student engagement and civic responsibility.
Thank you for considering my perspective on this matter.
[Your Contact Information]
Here’s what else you can do:
- Please attend the Thursday, Jan 18th school board meeting and voice your concerns –
See here for schedule and more information.
- Please attend our Friday Jan 19th “Meet the Candidates” event
- Find out more about our endorsed candidates: Adriana Kuhn and Sam Young
- Contact us to find out more, volunteer in a school board campaign, or to let us know your concerns about our schools.
- Consider making a donation to help us elect better school board members.
- Most importantly: Get out and VOTE on April 2, 2024, and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same!