SPFT and SPPS Joint Statement Supporting Student Walkouts

Note: At our February Membership Meeting, SPFT members unanimously called on the leadership of SPFT to work with Saint Paul Public Schools on a joint statement supporting student protests planned in support of gun control. The statement is posted below.

SPFT members are encouraged to wear orange on March 14 to support student protestors. If your building is planning an action, please send pictures to Patrick Burke (patrick@spft.org). More information about plans for the March 24 action at the Capitol will be available at the end of the week. 

Joint Statement:

Following yet another school shooting, students have ignited a gun-control movement that is sweeping across the nation.

Students and staff in Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) will join others locally and nationally on March 14 in protest of gun violence and in support of gun control legislation. This date marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.

The 17-minute walkout is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. – the same time the shooting began – and was organized to honor those shot on that tragic day. The event is also intended to spur Congress into action by adopting common-sense measures to help prevent the gun violence that is plaguing schools and neighborhoods.

SPPS students and staff are participating in activities that are being organized at their individual schools. The activities will happen on campus and will vary at each site based on the level of interest and participation. They may include school-wide assemblies, classroom-based lessons or a gathering outside the building.

SPPS and the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers (SPFT) support students and staff as they express their concerns about gun violence in the country. Both the District and the Union respect the students’ perspectives and encourage them to exercise their right to speak up on issues that are important to them.

As public school educators, the members of SPFT believe that schools should be safe for all students. Both SPPS and SPFT strongly encourage state and national lawmakers to take action to reduce the number of guns in public schools and communities.

SPFT also urges SPPS staff and community members who are concerned about the lack of gun control laws in the country to join together at the March for Our Lives scheduled for Saturday, March 24.