Message from the Superintendent: Protest Organized by Sen. Williams

Message from the Superintendent: Protest Organized by Sen. Williams

UPDATE: The following message was sent today, Sept. 27, 2017, to River Ridge High School and Mill Creek Middle School parents:

Dear Parents,

On behalf of the Superintendent, we appreciate your patience with our successful additional security measures in preparation for the protest held today by Sen. Williams.

We also are grateful for our CCSD School Police Department’s strong partnerships with the law enforcement community; the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office and Marshal’s Office greatly assisted us today in ensuring the protest stayed off campus at the roadside right-of-way.

None of us knows what could have happened today had we not made clear our plans to maintain a safe and secure learning environment for our students and staff. We’ve all seen how protests advertised as peaceful have gotten out of control, and we are unwilling to take such a risk with our students’ and our employees’ safety.

As we have repeatedly stated publicly, we do not agree with the teacher’s actions, and we support our students’ Constitutional right to express political opinions. The Superintendent has authorized an administrative investigation, which is ongoing. We don’t rush administrative investigations or violate employees’ due process and lead taxpayers into costly litigation in order to please a politician or special interest group.

Thank you for entrusting your children to us each day; we are committed to providing them a safe and secure learning environment and the best education possible.

Barbara P. Jacoby
Chief Communications Officer
Cherokee County School District

 

POSTED 9/25/17

Dear Parents, On behalf of the Superintendent, please be advised that the following message has been sent to Sen. Williams. We take the safety and security of your children very seriously and have planned additional precautions even beyond those noted below. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your school’s front office so they can assist you.

Senator Williams,

On behalf of the Superintendent, this message is to advise you that the protest you’ve scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017, according to your social media posts, will not be permitted on the River Ridge High School/Mill Creek Middle School campus or any other CCSD school campus, in accordance with federal and state laws.

Unfortunately, your protest was planned and announced by you and your campaign without any prior conversation with the Superintendent or his staff.  During today’s conversation, you were advised of the current situation regarding due process for the employee to whom you have referred.

We have determined that your protest, while advertised by you as “peaceful,” cannot be guaranteed as such, and will significantly disrupt teaching and learning and may endanger the safety of more than 3,200 students and staff.

While we strongly support the Constitutional right to air grievances through peaceful protest, we support the courts’ interpretation that this right is limited in regard to school campuses.  You may be unaware that the RRHS/MCMS campus, which serves Grades 6-12, has no public sidewalks or adequate right-of-way for congregating or parking; the signage you’ve advertised as your protest location is on school property.

In the interest of public safety and preventing a disruption of school activity, access to the RRHS/MCMS campus will be restricted all day on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to anyone other than RRHS/MCMS students, employees and parents who are dropping off/picking up their children or participating in other school-approved activities. Students, employees and parents are to bring appropriate identification.

School police officers and other public safety personnel will be monitoring the driveway entrances and elsewhere on campus to ensure students and employees stay safe and secure; and the campus will be on Code Yellow all day (no outside activities).  Traffic likely will be impacted; we encourage students to ride the bus and all drivers in the area to consider alternate routes.

Again, we strongly support the Constitutional right to air grievances, and, to that end, we invite you to consider an alternate location at our Dr. Frank R. Petruzielo Educational Services Facility at The Bluffs in Canton.  This campus includes a flagpole courtyard, which would provide a location for you and your supporters to congregate, and there is the opportunity for parking; please contact Police Chief Mark Kissel if you are interested in this location, so we can ensure adequate parking is available.

Also, please be aware that our School Board’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 at the facility at The Bluffs. The meeting is conducted in public, and the agenda is published on our website one week in advance.  The Board hears public comment at all of its meetings, and the guidelines are posted on our website as well.

As we have repeatedly stated publicly, and to you in a phone conversation earlier today, we do not agree with the teacher’s actions, and we support our students’ Constitutional right to express political opinions.  As you were told today, the Superintendent has authorized an administrative investigation, which is ongoing, and, as a result, we cannot discuss disciplinary action to ensure the Constitutional right of due process is afforded to all employees.

Sincerely,

Barbara P. Jacoby
Chief Communications Officer
Cherokee County School District