Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom calls on California County Superintendents to support public school students in the National School Walkout to Protest Gun Violence

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03-12-18

The Sacramento Bee reported on Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom's letter to all fifty-eight of California's County Superintendents of Schools, calling on their support and protection for students participating in the National School Walkout on March 14th.

In California, the recent threats of gun violence have prompted shutdowns and lockdowns of public schools, proving to be disruptive to the students' education. This 17-minute peaceful protest is minimally disruptive while fostering civic engagement among young students. Students have stepped up to demand action from their elected officials & should be supported by their school administration for doing so.

This letter follows another that the Lt. Governor drafted on March 1, 2018 to the University of California, California State Universities, and California's Community Colleges. The text of the letter to County Superintendents of Schools is as follows: (original attached here)

Dear Superintendent,

As your district prepares for the National School Walk Out in protest of gun violence on March 14, 2018, I write in support of participating students and invite your public support and reassurances that your district's students will not face disciplinary action for peacefully exercising the protections afforded by the First Amendment.

The short (seventeen-minute) proposed protest conducted peacefully and lawfully in concert with a national day of civic engagement does not create a substantial disruption, nor infringe on the rights of other students.

Conversely, the impact of gun violence upon our public institutions of learning has, and continues to, radically disrupt campus life, from lockdowns to the fatal consequences of active shooters, where the longer-term psychological toll on students is beyond quantifiable. In the Sacramento region alone, five schools have closed and/or enforced lockdowns in response to threats of gun violence since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. Indeed, the mass shooting at a Stockton elementary school in 1989 ushered in California's era of legislative action to reduce gun violence.

A full education fosters, promotes, and values civic participation. Student-led movements like this can have an impact not only on civic discourse, but also on the individual growth of each student that chooses to participate. We now witness the manifestation of these values through the incredible young adults at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Some California school districts have already voiced their support of their student body's participation on March 14, 2018. The President of University of California, the Chancellor of the California State University system, and the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges have all reassured current and prospective students that their participation on March 14 will not result in adverse consequences.

I ask you to join these leaders. The adults in charge of Congress have failed our children for long enough. Let's not fail them again by suppressing their voices at this critical juncture in history.

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