Ferguson public schools won’t open this week as planned


Police advance to clear people Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, during a protest for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo. Brown’s shooting has sparked more than a week of protests, riots and looting in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Public schools in the 11,000-student Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri were supposed to open on Aug. 14 but did not as a result of the civil unrest sparked after a policeman shot and killed teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The new date for the opening of the 2014-15 school year was supposed to be Monday, Aug. 18, but authorities decided to keep the schools closed as disturbances continued. Now school is planned to begin next Monday, on Aug. 25. Here’s the note posted on the school district’s Web site, and following that is a letter to the community from the district’s acting superintendent:

All schools in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed Tuesday, August 19 through Friday, August 22 due to continued unrest in and around Ferguson, Mo. This decision was made after much careful deliberation and consideration of input received from local law enforcement officials and District security staff.

We believe that closing schools for the rest of this week will allow needed time for peace and stability to be restored to our community and allow families to plan ahead for the additional days that children will be out of school.

While we deeply regret this delay to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, our first priority is the safety of our students.

Due to this change, the first day of school in the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be on Monday, August 25.

Click here for our 2014-2015 calendar and here for 2014-2015 school supply lists.

We are heartbroken by the tragic events of recent days in and around the City of Ferguson. We are planning to receive and support our students as soon as possible, and we look forward to working closely with our community to heal and rebuild. Read a letter to families from FFSD’s acting superintendent, Mr. Lawrence Larrew. Find out about available community counseling resources for children & families here.

 

Here’s the letter that Acting Superintendent Lawrence Larrew put out to the community last week:

 

August 11, 2014

Dear Ferguson-Florissant School District Families,

The tragic events of recent days in the City of Ferguson and the surrounding areas are a concern to us as we are sure they are to all of you. To see our community suffering in this way is heartbreaking to all of us.

The safety of our students and staff, as always, is our top priority. As emotions remain high throughout the North County area, and access to some roads in Ferguson remains uncertain, we have rescheduled events scheduled for this week. All FFSD elementary schools’ Meet the Teacher events will be held tomorrow – Tuesday, August 12 – from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. McCluer High School’s New Student/9th Grade Back To School Night will now be held Tuesday from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

We are also reviewing security at each of our schools to ensure safety as preparations are made by staff over the next three days to welcome students back to school, and as students and families return to our schools on Thursday morning.

We believe as educators that restoring normalcy and welcoming our students back to school is one of the most effective things that we can do to advance the healing and rebuilding process. We are coordinating grief counseling and other resources to help us support our students as they return to our classrooms this Thursday, and reviewing first-day-of-school plans to provide guidance for constructive, age-appropriate discussions.

As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. We look forward to the opportunity serve you and your child during the 2014-2015 school year.

Sincerely,

Lawrence W. Larrew

Acting Superintendent

1005 Waterford Drive, Florissa

Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · August 19