More than 300 students at Hart Middle School participated in a walkout Tuesday morning in response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas where 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school one week earlier.
Patrick Gannon, director of communications for the Pleasanton Unified School District, said the walkout lasted approximately 10 minutes and that "student organizers reached out to the school administration to inform them and receive authorization to hold the demonstration on campus prior to holding the event."
He said the organizers, participants and student speakers were all respectful, responsible and returned to class following the demonstration.
"We are proud of the student organizers who chose to stand up and act on something they believed strongly in," PUSD Superintendent David Haglund told the Weekly. "I am grateful that they did so in a safe, respectful and responsible way by working with their school administrators. This is truly our PUSD mission in action: our students will make a better world."
Haglund, who attended the walkout, said he is saddened that the Pleasanton school community, along with those across the country, are dealing with another shooting -- this time at an elementary school.
"Once again, families are grieving the loss of children and others the loss of a mother who simply chose to be a teacher. No family should ever have to fear sending a loved one to school," Haglund said.
He also spoke about the $10.7 million in Measure I1 funds to improve campus safety. Some of these improvements are new fencing to limit entry when school is in session as well as security cameras and modern communication, alarm and intercom systems.
"In total, we will have invested $14.9 million in safety-related improvements by the end of 2022. The district office and each school site have comprehensive safety plans in place that outline staff and student training and related drills to ensure individuals know what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency," Haglund said.
He added that there is support available to staff, students and families in the forms of wellness centers, school psychologists, social workers and student assistance program specialists. He said that the district is also working with the Pleasanton Police Department on training and monthly safety drills.
"I look forward to engaging our community in ongoing efforts to support safety on our campuses so that our students and our staff can maintain their focus on teaching and learning that is anchored in our classrooms," Haglund said. "Our children need us to be engaged, and to do much, much more than offer our thoughts and prayers."