Florida PTA Statement on Walk Outs and Other Community Organized Protests

Walk Outs and Other Community Organized Protests
Many have asked what our position is on these events. I truly believe that if the administration of a school will allow a student-led walkout activity, PTA should be able to assist in logistics and safety.  I do not believe that PTA should endorse, promote, encourage or participate in any activity on school campus that is against the wishes of the administration.  This is an extreme liability and unless there are signed permission forms from each parent and a written authorization from the administration, we are opening up ourselves to be involved in a situation which may detract us from the other crucial issues that we are taking action upon.
We support those schools who allow this type of protest and free speech as a learning opportunity for students to take an active role in advocating. We should make ourselves available, if called upon to assist, but we should follow the lead of principals and their staff as they oversee the safety of our children.
As you know, Florida PTA was highly involved in the organizing of the recent rally on the steps of the Capitol in Tallahassee. As this crisis has affected so many, it has become apparent that events and rallies are popping up all across not only our state, but the nation. Regarding community protests, such as the March for Our Lives or Never Again Movement, while this is not a PTA organized event, we are always looking for opportunities to join with other advocates to fight for all children. In doing so, we are able to find solidarity in our mission alongside others that are raising their voices. Always remember that PTA has positions on these issues and as long as we follow the guidelines in speaking on these topics, we are free to join our voices with others. If you do not know our positions, or are unfamiliar with our talking points, please contact the state office. Also, please use discretion when being asked to promote an event, as putting our name or logo on such promotional material may give us joint liability, should anything negative occur. If you have any questions about the organizers of an event, or your participation in it, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or the state office.
Thank you for taking action and honoring the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas!
We are all #MSDStrong
Cindy Gerhardt, President

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