I wanted to take this time to address some inquiries and questions that have come up regarding the tragedy that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland Florida in which 17 individuals were gunned down by a former student.
The Syracuse City School District has not released any district wide sponsorship or stance on the tragedy. It is for this reason that I wanted to reach out to you to explain what we as social studies can do if we are addressing these issues of social studies in our classrooms. If you have serious questions or concerns, please contact myself or your building leader immediately.
It is very important that we understand the legal issues and constitutional rights of students as referenced in the court case of Tinker v. DeMoines. For this reason the New York State School Boards Association has released information to inform us about the legal actions or implications related to student walkouts. If you are interested in finding out in detail information about this click here.
After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, courageous survivors have inspired a groundswell of activism and advocacy. Here's what you need to know—and what we are able to do as social studies educators within our classrooms and schools.
School/Classroom Forums or Assemblies
On March 14: The National School Walkout that will occur at 10:00 a.m., no matter your time zone. is presently being Organized by the individuals behind the Women's March, this walkout will last 17 minutes—one minute for each victim of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. Instead of actually walking out, of the building may want to plan a school or classroom assembly or forum regarding the issue.
Have your students read and discuss Emma González's moving speech from a rally in Fort Lauderdale. Have them read and react to Christine Yared's New York Times op-ed. Summarize the survivors' multifaceted activism-from Twitter and #NeverAgain, to planned marches, media appearances and demands to speak with lawmakers—and ask your students to evaluate the efficacy of such action. In addition, you may want to take a look at this quick lesson plan for assistance.
Empower Your Students
You can further empower students through our "Do Something" student tasks. With "Listen Up! PSA for Change" students in grades 6-12 can produce digital media to raise awareness and encourage change. Younger students can create a community mural campaign honoring victims of school shootings, or a "Collage of Concerns" that helps them understand and articulate their feelings about this issue. These tasks are often art- or performance-based, allowing students to take action through expression, no matter their proximity to the events taking place nationally (Collins, 2018)
You can also inspire students by teaching them that the young activists working for change around the nation are doing what young people have always done: set the tone to make our world better. Showing and discussing our classroom film The Children's March is one way to do this (Collins, 2018)
And don't forget to empower yourself. We know that school shootings place an undue, heavy and complex burden on educators. You deserve a reminder that you didn't ask for this, and you are loved for your commitment to your students ( Mascareñaz, 2018)