If any "silver lining", for lack a better term, can be found in the most recent horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, it's the inspiring actions and words from the country's youth, seen nationally, and now on a local level.

Echoing protests that gained popularity in the 60's and 70's, students from both Pittsfield High School and Taconic have plans for a walk-out at 10 am tomorrow, in a show of support for the Parkland community, as well as the issues of school safety and gun laws. Less we forget these kids are the ones attending these schools every day, as the shootings become more and more common. Protests and rallies organizied by young adults are also a reminder to politicians that most of the students participating will be of voting age in the next year or two, and clearly, their voices will be heard.

I first heard about the walk-out from a friend of mine who has sons, a junior and senior, at PHS, and I immediately thought, I hope they don't get in trouble with the school. Now I'm not a parent, but if I was, I would like to believe I would be supportive and proud of my child for standing up and saying, this cannot and will not continue to happen, and exercise their right to free speech and expression, without fear from disciplinary repercussions. Apparently Pittsfield Public Schools agreed and I applaud the statement Superintendent of Schools Jake McCandless made to students families.

Our administration, like you, certainly supports making schools safer for students, staff and volunteers, We work with our local, state and federal authorities to make this so. Also, like you, we remain stunned and broken-hearted by events in Parkland, Florida.

 

We also believe it is appropriate that students voices are being heard and respected on this and all issues. Tuesday's student lead walkout is a means of students having control, being heard, and organizing to let us all know their thoughts on this matter. We believe students have a need to do this, and therefor we will not treat this as skipping school, or treat it as a disciplinary issue

Jake McCandless, Superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools

McCandless went on to say they would be meeting with police and administrators today discuss how to best support a safe event for students, after which plans will be conveyed to student leaders.