Dear Community Members:
I am writing to address the student walk out movement that occured last week. I personally support the sentiments of the movement. As the leader of a public school, however, I am charged with representing all students and all beliefs in an equitable manner. It was a challenge at both the building and district levels to remain apolitical while using this moment as a learning opportunity for all.
School law allows for the freedom of individual expression to the extent that it doesn’t reasonably interfere with school operations or create unsafe situations. Allowing a walk-out beyond the confines of the school campus, without parental permission, puts the school district in the unenviable position of abandoning its responsibility for student supervision and actively promoting one set of beliefs about improving school safety (i.e., gun control) at the expense of other beliefs. That is an untenable situation.
For the above-mentioned reasons, we chose to work with students and faculty to develop a forum for expression about school safety and memorializing the victims of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida. These in-school assemblies were seen by some as restricting the rights of students to protest in a manner they felt passionate about (i.e., assembling off campus). For others, these in-school assemblies were seen as violation of student rights to a “regular” day of teaching and learning. And, for others, the assemblies were viewed as thoughtful and tasteful accommodations for students who wanted to express themselves.
From my perspective, the events of this past week leave me more convinced than ever that we need to be building bridges between different groups in our community. Too many people are convinced that they have a monopoly on the truth. Too many people are talking past one another and thinking they have the moral high ground.
I humbly suggest we redirect some of the passion for our political positions to building bridges of understanding between groups. I truly believe this will make us all safer and happier.
Paul Finch, Superintendent of Schools
Policies for All Employees for 2017-18 School Year
Ms. Katie Whittaker is one of the newest members of the NYS Master Teachers Program. As such, she joins an impressive group of her RHCSD colleagues who are also Master Teachers.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....and what that may mean for school closings and delays.
If you enjoy working with students and helping them learn to their full potential, we need you.
If you are a parent and would like to be included in text message alerts, this article is for you!
For more information, please read policy #1002.
School delays, cancellations and changes in dismissal times will be posted on the district website and its Twitter feed @rhcsd, recorded on the message center (845-758-2241) and shared with area television and radio stations. Parents are advised to keep emergency contact information current by notifying the main office of your child's school if phone numbers or email addresses change.