Administrators in Davenport intermediate schools have different guidelines than those in high schools when it comes to student walkouts such as the events planned for several Quad-City schools today.
Davenport Community Schools Superintendent Art Tate shared guidelines about planned demonstrations with intermediate and high-school principals.
At some schools, including West High School, students plan to leave the school in support of the 17 people who were killed during the Feb. 14 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Quad-City area students will join other students across the nation in a walkout that will involve speeches from student leaders.
Among the other Quad-City area schools that are planning protests, according to social media and a list of schools at https://www.womensmarch.com/enough/ are Geneseo, Moline and Sherrard in Illinois. Pleasant Valley and Bettendorf students are on spring break.
West High School student Madison Cousins, who is a student member of the Davenport School Board, said at the school board meeting Monday night that students at West will leave the building at 10 a.m. for the event that will involve 17 minutes of silence and student speeches afterward.
In Davenport, the intermediate guidelines are “different from those issued concerning high school students, primarily because intermediate students generally have a different level of maturity and self-control,” Tate said in the guidelines.
Intermediate students do not have permission to leave the school. If they do leave the classroom or school, the principal can use their own judgement to determine consequences.
Teachers will remain in the intermediate classrooms and continue to teach.
For high-school students, “District and high school administration do not promote walking out from class; however, we will not prevent students from conducting an event that follows certain guidelines.”
Student leaders, Tate said, “need to realize that since this is a student-conceived event, their reputation as leaders is based on it being conducted in a respectful and orderly fashion.”
Gatherings must be outside the building. Students may choose not to participate.
Student leaders will be asked to coordinate the time to begin and end the event with principals in order to minimize its impact. “This is especially important since the 14th is the last day of review before finals.”
There will be discipline consequences for students who walk out of a class but do not participate in the student-led event, and also for students who do not return to the school building with other students after the event.
Student participants must remain on school property. Because the district must account for the presence of all students during a school day, if a student leaves class, he or she will be marked as “unexcused.” There will be no consequence for the unexcused designation provided that students return to class.
In the meantime, Alleman High School, Rock Island, plans a different kind of observance.
Alleman students have planned a candlelighting memorial service that will begin at 9:45 a.m., when students and faculty will gather in the Alleman High School Morris Gym.
Candles will be lit by Alleman students of the same grade as each of the victims. The school then will join the choir in singing “On Eagles Wings” to represent the Marjory Stoneman Douglas eagle mascot.
Student organizers approached the school administration to find a way to work together to honor the students that were lost.
Families are welcome. Visitors should check in at the main office before proceeding to the gym.