Dear AFS Families,
On Wednesday, March 14, a nationwide 17-minute school walkout is being organized by students at Youth Empower, a student activism branch of the Women’s March organization. The march will coincide with the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., with the 17 minutes being in remembrance of each of the 17 victims killed that day. The walkout is intended to create solidarity and mutual support among students and educators and to bring sustained attention to the issue of gun violence in our schools and communities.
We at Abington Friends School will participate as a full community in solidarity with the concern for gun violence and to stand in witness to our Quaker testimonies of peace and non-violence. We believe all human beings deserve to live life free from the threat of violence. The peace testimony challenges us to envision alternatives to violence and to focus attention on its root causes. As a Friends school, we want to participate on March 14th to join with students and teachers across the country on this critical issue and to lift up the skills and ethical orientation of Friends education as particularly relevant for the challenges of our larger world.
The walkout at AFS will begin at 10 a.m. and will vary in age-appropriate ways by division.
Students from the Lower School will be engaged in the morning with various activities for thinking about peace and then will go outside at 10 a.m. to sing peace songs together under the large tree across from the Lower School entrance.
Middle and Upper School students have decided that they would like students in their divisions to join in silent reflection in a circle on the front lawn, to be followed by a chance to reflect together on issues of non-violence and peace in their respective Meetings for Worship later that day.
All administrators and staff have been invited to join either the Lower School gathering or to join the reflective silence with Middle and Upper School students and faculty on the front lawn.
I am grateful for this opportunity to reflect and join with students and teachers around the country in bringing sustained attention to this important issue.
All the best,