A Message Regarding Continued School Safety and Student Demonstrations from Superintendent, Dr. Greg Plutko

Dear PYLUSD Community,

The school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has had a profound impact on many of our communities across the nation, spurring meaningful and vital discussions about school safety and student wellness. During these times of heightened uncertainty around the country, PYLUSD will remain vigilant in our commitment to ensuring the safety and wellness of our students and staff. I want to thank you for your support and thoughtful communication with our schools and district office teams.

In that communication, you have asked for information about some of the specific actions and behaviors PYL is using to support our safe school environment. Over the past few weeks, we have worked in collaboration with our Community Advisory Committee, PTA, and Teacher/Student Advisory Committees to develop and share a document that outlines our district initiatives for safety and wellness. Please feel free to visit our website at www.pylusd.org/schoolsafety/ to see our collaborative work.

As we look ahead to next week, many of our high school students have reached out to school principals, teachers, and staff regarding their desire to participate in the widely publicized nationwide school walkout for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, in honor of the 17 victims who lost their lives.

PYLUSD respects students’ First Amendment right, under federal and state law, to freedom of speech in the school environment. The March 14 event both here and across our nation is entirely student-driven and voluntary – it is not sponsored by PYLUSD or our schools. In accordance with state law, we will not discipline students who choose to assemble, provided they adhere to District and school guidelines:
  • All activities must be peaceful and respectful
  • Students must stay in the designated areas on campus so as not to disrupt a safe and orderly educational environment for all student and school staff
PYLUSD has received legal guidance from the Orange County Department of Education that school districts may provide “appropriate time and place” alternatives to ensure there will be minimal disruption to the instructional process.

To further support a safe campus environment, outside groups, parents/guardians, and other individuals who do not have official school-related business, will not be allowed on campus to participate in the student demonstration. Anyone visiting school campuses for school-related matters or for volunteer work must check in with the front office, per usual.

As with any important issue, we encourage you to have a conversation with your student and make your own expectations related to these non-school-sponsored activities clear. Principals and school staff will continue to discuss this matter and will maintain open lines of communication with students and families if questions arise.

PYLUSD has a long and thoughtful history of prioritizing a “student-first” mentality regarding all activities. Our District’s success has always been driven by the dedicated work of our outstanding teachers and support staff, our active parent community, and our engaged and passionate students. In these challenging times, I am confident that our attentiveness will connect us to our great history.
Dr. Gregory S. Plutko
Superintendent of Schools
Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School Distrct
*Versión en español adjunta a continuación.
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