NEWSFLASH: Statement from Superintendent Dr. Dan Brenner on planned student walkout

The following statement was issued by Schools Superintenent Dan Brenner on Wednesday morning. 
Dear Darien School Community Members,
It seems hard to believe that the tragedy perpetrated at Stoneman Douglas High School occurred just 14 days ago. Since then, we have witnessed courageous high school students find their voice, and we have watched their spirit resonate across the country in ways that I don’t ever recall in the course of my career.
As you have likely heard by now, there is a nationwide student walkout planned for March 14, 2018. I would like to update you on the District’s position related to how the walkout will be addressed in all of our schools and ask for your support.
We had the opportunity to meet with a group of students at DHS yesterday who are organizing and communicating with the student body regarding this planned day of awareness across our country. This group is well organized and intend on sharing the purpose of the walkout with their peer group as a way to honor the 17 people who died in Parkland as well as advocating for school safety. The walkout is voluntary and will last 17 minutes. DHS’ school administration, faculty, and staff will follow-up with programming during the school day that will address safety concerns and questions raised by our students.
Students who choose to participate in the walkout will not be penalized for the time out of class, with the expectation they will return to their classes at the conclusion of the 17 minutes.
In order to ensure this is a safe moment for all involved, we will be limiting access to DHS with the exception of students and school personnel during the walkout. We ask that parents not come to DHS on March 14th between 10:00am and 10:17am. Stated simply, our campus cannot
accommodate parents attending this event. Please support us and the students by adhering to this request.
At MMS, we do not feel it is developmentally appropriate for our students to participate in a walkout. Instead, on March 14th, we will take the opportunity to utilize an extended Flex period to have a thoughtful age appropriate discussion with the children about the role they can play toward making our schools emotionally and physically safe.
At our elementary schools, we will continue to support our students in a safe learning environment. On March 14th, our faculty and staff will emphasize and remind children of ways to be kind, empathetic, and care for one another in and out of school.
Most importantly, I have been in discussion with the Darien Police Chief, Ray Osborne, together, we continue to explore ways to keep all of our children safe on our campuses. We will be meeting in the coming days and weeks to review procedures and protocols that are in place as well as to explore enhancements to our current practices.
Please know that we are working diligently to ensure the safety of all of the children in Darien knowing there is no more important task for us as educators.
Sincerely,
Dan Brenner, Ph.D Superintendent of Schools