Published on February 14, 2020
On Wednesday, February 12th, 2020, a small group of Warwick High School students walked out of school to hold a protest. The students were permitted to hold their protest and were not approached or interfered with by school administrators. Following their protest, each student spent time with district administrators to share their concerns, which were previously unreported to the school. Warwick School District administrators have spent the last two days listening to concerns and following up with families of the students involved. All of the student concerns are being addressed. Although students are not disciplined for peaceful protests at Warwick, leaving class without permission and being out of an assigned area are disciplinary infractions.
Warwick School District is an inclusive institution, embracing each and every student. Over many years, the school board and administration have worked exceptionally hard to provide safe spaces for students, an atmosphere of inclusivity, and to build relationships with students to promote communication and understanding. Student voice is paramount in all our decision making, and we have created a multitude of ways students can exercise this right. Any and all concerns are heard and addressed. We are always concerned about the way our students are treated and are concerned that Wednesday's events will draw even more unwanted scrutiny of students who already feel disconnected. At Warwick, we strive to be better and to model respect for all.
As part of Wednesday's walkout, a student contacted a reporter from Lancaster Newspapers. That reporter and another individual came to campus and waited for the students to begin their protest and were noticed as unidentified people on our campus. As the administration became aware of the protest as well as the unidentified people on campus, both administrators and school security staff engaged with the reporters and asked them to move off campus, as is district protocol in our media guidelines. Warwick’s media guidelines were put in place with the support of our school board and administration after some unauthorized interactions between the press and students occurred. These guidelines were designed to protect our students’ privacy and to ensure that students are always treated with dignity and respect during the school day and while on our campuses. When we are contacted by the media, we are always willing to make appropriate connections with students, both to celebrate their amazing accomplishments and to allow them to share their voices through ethical and appropriate editorial means.
Warwick School District is a learning institution. In addition to our strong programs in academics, the arts, and athletics, we strive to learn and grow in our interactions with each other and in the effort to continue to make the world a better place. We will take what we learn from our students and use it to guide our steps moving forward, always focusing on what is best for our community.