Letter to My School Superintendent Concerning School Walkouts

As many of you are aware there are several events in the near future planned to address the epidemic of gun violence that is devastating our schools. Here is the letter I wrote to my school superintendent concerning these events. Let’s hope I get a positive response.

I encourage all of you to address these issues with your own schools, but if you attend Midland Public Schools, I’ll make it easy for you. Here is the email address of the superintendent:

sharrowme@midlandps.org (Michael E. Sharrow)

And here are two more email addresses of the associate superintendents:

brutynbr@midlandps.org (Brian R. Brutyn)

cooperrg@midlandps.org (Robert G. Cooper)


Dear Mr. Sharrow,

As I am sure you are aware there are various nationwide events planned to draw attention to the epidemic of gun violence and our schools. On March 14th the Women’s March is sponsoring a school walkout, on March 24th the kids of MSD are sponsoring March for Our Lives (nationwide marches), and on April 20th a student from Connecticut is organizing another school walkout on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. I would like to know what the school plans to do to facilitate the students in their right to participate in these walkouts. I know that high school, and even middle school kids, are quite capable of participating with or without the approval of the school, and I think after the students at MSD have proven, we will never underestimate our teenagers again. But I would like to be clear that I support theses students without repercussions to their decision and will be greatly displeased if any are perpetrated against them.

I also would like to ask if the school has given any thought in how the elementary age students could participate, or better yet, their parents. I have elementary age kids at Woodcrest and if the school devises a way to allow them to participate I will gladly help in that endeavor, but I do have hesitation about using our children to make a point when some may be too young to understand. I know my 4th grader would understand the concepts, but I have twin kindergarteners and I worry about how a protest of this nature (walking out during class silently) might affect them, though I would find a way to explain it to them if the walkout is possible. As an alternative I think allowing parents to gather outside the school at the time of the walkouts in solidarity for concerns of what needs to be done to prevent further tragedies would be a great way to still participate in this needed movement while not involving children too young. Having said that, I still think it might be a good idea to give the older kids an opportunity to participate if they so choose. If this issue is handled properly ahead of time, parents will have the opportunity to discuss the issues with their children so they can decide if they wish to participate.

In closing, I would like to say, if our children must participate in lockdown or active shooter drills to potentially save their lives one day, I think they should be able to participate in events that draw attention to the very problem that causes those drills.


Jennifer Austin