Yesterday the Administration met with a group of student leaders from DSA to talk about potential walkouts and demonstrations during the last days eight days of the semester. Today the administration met with a group of 8th grade leaders. This was a very productive conversation that resulted in plans being made for a series of events and discussions around Race and Racism that will begin at DSA in January. We had a very long discussion about students seizing on a unique opportunity that we have as an Arts School and using art to influence social change in positive ways. We also reached a mutual agreement that staging walk-outs during instructional time is counter productive to our work in educating our students and leaves many students unwilling or unable to participate because of the nature of a walk-out and their desire to be better educated about the issues. Again, we ask that you host conversations with your child about these issues and discourage them from walking out of class as a way to support this cause.
Currently the Denver Public Schools has placed all elementary schools, K-8 schools and middle schools on a closed campus status. Denver School of the Arts always operates as a closed campus for our 6-8th grade students. Students who leave a closed campus may face disciplinary action for leaving a closed campus. In addition, students should be aware that they might also face civil penalties if they are participating in an un-permitted protest and may put their safety and the safety of the public at risk.
The administration at DSA appreciates our students’ concerns and students’ voices in the national conversation happening around race and social justice issues. The DSA Administration wants you to know that we are working diligently with our student and PTSO to set up appropriate opportunities in school for students and community members to reflect on and discuss these vital issues. These are vitally important conversations. The district is also cooperating with the city to set up additional forums citywide to further these discussions. When we have more information on these citywide forums we will pass this information along to you.
Thanks for your ongoing support as we work through these issues.
William M. Kohut,
Denver School of the Arts