Update on Wednesday’s Student Walkout

Dear ARHS Parents and Guardians,

I’d like to provide the community with a brief update on today’s student walkout.

At 10 am, I would estimate that approximately several hundred students gathered in our west parking lot. They were joined by many faculty, staff and community members.

This segment of the walkout was solemn in tone. ARHS students took turns reading the names and a brief description of each of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School shooting. This concluded with a moment of silence.

At this juncture, students made a decision: many returned to class while others proceeded to the Town Commons to continue the rally. For me, this was one of the day’s high points. For the students who returned to class, I assume it would have been easier to allow themselves to be swept up in the momentum that propelled the group headed into town. That they returned to class shows a level of intention that I find admirable. That their choice was respected by their peers only added to the significance of the moment.

At the Commons, there were several speakers, one of which was our state representative, Solomon Goldstein-Rose. The group then returned to campus, arriving about 11:20.

The role of the Amherst Police Department is important to note. They blocked traffic at various points between school and the Commons and generally kept watch over the ARHS group. Their presence was reassuring.

I also want to acknowledge the ARHS faculty and staff. This was a day with lots of moving parts. And, yet, they made it look like school, continuing with instruction while also providing room and support for the day’s agenda.

Lastly, in a word, I was very proud of our students. On a host of fronts. They thought through the day’s logistics; they took strong, informed stands on issues of great importance; and, they respected the right of everyone to make decisions consistent with their own beliefs.

A good day’s work.

Thank you.

Mark Jackson

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