Anticipating unrest after the jury delivers a verdict in former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial for allegedly killing Minneapolis man George Floyd, Minneapolis Public Schools have announced that schools will return to remove learning at the end of next week.
In an announcement on Friday, MPS Superintendent Ed Graff said that even though next week marks the first time in a year that in-person learning will be made available for middle-school students, schools would return to remote learning on Wednesday in preparation for the verdict.
“Peaceful protests are one of the foundations of our democracy. Some students may feel called to participate in collective actions being organized around the city, but MPS also recognizes our primary need and your primary desire to keep students safe. We cannot deny the fact that people with ill intentions sometimes take advantage of communities in crisis,” Graff wrote.
The jury begins deliberation on Monday, and MPS will be open for in-person learning through Tuesday, closing again for the remainder of the week. From the announcement:
- On Monday and Tuesday (April 19-20), in-person learning will continue for all grades with corresponding transportation to and from school. Sixth graders in most schools will be welcomed on Monday, and grades 7 and 8 in most will follow on Tuesday. A few schools in hybrid learning with start dates scheduled later in the week will provide updated start dates for their students. Please check with your school with any questions. Families who believe a different choice makes sense for their child are welcome to make that decision using your school’s approved absence process.
- From Wednesday through Friday next week (April 21-23), all in-person learning students in all grades will return home for distance learning. Students will not be required to leave their homes to attend school for the remainder of the week, though school buildings will be open. Over these three days, no athletic events or Minneapolis Kids before- and after-school childcare will be held. Meal box pick-ups will continue as currently available.
Graff added that “Leaving the school campus should be a family and caregiver decision done while carefully weighing the potential dangers and concerns in the broader community.” He linked to another MPS website with information about “student walkouts.”
“MPS respects students’ First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. We will not discipline students for the act of protesting as long as the protest remains peaceful. However, according to MPS policy, if students walk out of school unexcused, they will not be able to return to the school for the remainder of the day or participate in after-school activities,” the website says.
Further, Graff wrote that conversations about race may be brought up in class.
“The racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents may be widely discussed among some students in our schools. As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis. Understanding that every educator will approach this differently, MPS has provided all educators with resources that are appropriate both to the age of the students being taught and the background and experience of the educator,” Graff wrote. “These plans are made based on what we know today. Should trial activities change, we will reevaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible.”
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter for Floyd’s death, which occurred on May 25, 2020. Video of the incident appears to show Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
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