Pittsburgh Public Schools lays ground rules for students who want to participate in walkout | TribLIVE.com

Pittsburgh Public Schools lays ground rules for students who want to participate in walkout

Emily Balser
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
A supporter hangs a sign that reads "We Demand Justice for Antwon Rose" during a vigil inside the Hawkins Village housing complex in Rankin on Sunday, March 24, 2019. The vigil was held two days after a jury acquitted former East Pittsburgh police Officer Michael Rosfeld of homicide in the teen’s June 19 killing.

The superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools has released a statement on how the district will accommodate students who want to participate in the Antwon Rose II protests this week and address questions and concerns.

A Facebook event page has more than 600 people interested in participating in a walk-out and protest Monday morning. The event encourages students to walk out of school and meet at noon for a peaceful protest at the Pittsburgh City-County Building. The page says it is organized by Pittsburgh high school and college students.

People were also posting about the walk-out on Twitter.

Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said in the statement released Sunday afternoon that the district will “respect the right of all students to lawfully and peacefully protest” while making sure they keep students safe and secure.

“School leaders have been encouraged to work with student leaders to develop a plan that ensures students are safe while participating in any demonstrations,” he said. “It is essential that our office of school safety and school staff are prepared to support procedures for safe student protests on school campuses.”

Hamlet said that district doesn’t support students leaving school during the day to enter an “unpredictable and potentially hazardous scene.”

Students are required to have parent permission to participate in demonstrations and follow the district’s early dismissal procedures. Any student who leaves school without parent or guardian permission will receive an unexcused tardy or absence as appropriate.

Hamlet said the statement the district has coordinated support to assist schools with difficult conversations that may arise with students as a result of the outcome of the jury’s decision. The district is also prepared to provide increased support through its Student Assistance Program.

“We know that the death of Antwon Rose, the jury’s decision, the reactions of the community, and coverage in the news media can be confusing, and at times frightening for our young people – many of who see themselves, family members and friends in Antwon,” he said. “It is our responsibility to process this moment with our students in a way that honors not only their emotions but their abilities to impact change in our community. We are committed to this charge.”

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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