Dear CLA Community – Faculty, Staff, Students, Families, and Alumni,
Since its very beginning, Citizens Leadership Academy has been a school grounded in the value of civic engagement. Our sixth-grade essential question is, “What makes a community thrive?” In seventh grade, it is, “What makes a morally courageous person?” and in eighth grade we explore, “What makes a civically engaged person?” During crew, through our academic case studies, and through our community meetings, we learn about leadership and ways to evolve our leadership potential. We are an EL Education school that is grounded in these values, and we are part of the Facing History and Ourselves network, which believes that “people make choices, and choices make history.”
With this foundation of civic engagement, in response to the most recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the ongoing gun violence in Northeast Ohio, CLA will be joining the #Enough National School Walkout, the group that is organizing the 17-minute walkout of teachers and students at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14th. to “demand Congressional action to prevent future gun violence in schools.” The 17 minutes is in memory of the 17 students and staff killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week.
The CLA walkout will take the walkout a step further. Our walkout by the students and staff at CLA and CLA-East will be “17 +7” — to protest in memory of the 17 students and staff from Parkland and the 7 children killed with guns in the U.S. on an average day (Everytownresearch.org). Our protest will run from 10 a.m. to 10:24 a.m. Most CLA families have been touched by gun violence in their families, circle of friends, and neighborhoods. The #Enough Walkout and CLA’s “17 + 7” protest walk will be a first step to civic engagement in turning these frightening statistics around. Of course, we will also be working with Breakthrough to reassess our current safety plans so that we keep our community safe.
Before March 14, we will review gun violence and gun violence prevention during crew. We are reaching out to local community leaders and government officials to speak at our Friday community meetings. We will conduct letter-writing and phone-calling campaigns, as well. As the students at Parkland said over the weekend, vigils are an important part of the healing process, but we need to push Congress and local government officials to take action to keep us safe in our schools and in our neighborhoods. When we march, we will march as informed citizens.
We wanted to reach out to you to let you know about CLA’s participation in the March 14 #Enough National School Walkout, and to invite you to join us that Wednesday morning while we walk down Chester Avenue and back for 17+7 or 24 minutes. If you have suggestions for readings, for speakers, or for the walkout itself, please reach out to Mrs. Gruhin, Mr. Franklin, or me to share.
Additionally, we know that this is a topic that is incredible sensitive and we want to make sure that everyone in our community is equipped to have conversations at home. Here is a link to an article that we have found to be quite helpful: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/02/18/586447438/how-to-talk-with-kids-about-terrible-things