An important message from Principal Rinaldi

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Dear Westhill Teachers, Students and Families,
 
By now you have become well aware of the incidents that transpired on Friday April 12, 2019. With swift action our administrative team has been able to identify the students who took it upon themselves to act in a manner that put many others in harm’s way. It is true that one adult was transported to Stamford Hospital after being hit in the head with a full beverage can that was thrown into the crowd. We are grateful to report that the adult injured is now home and recovering. Connected with this event were a number of other actions that Westhill High School and the Stamford Police are investigating and will work together to issue consequences including, but not limited to suspension, expulsions and arrests. Our mission of course is to educate and support all students in their pursuit of academic knowledge.  However, when a few students choose to act as they did and, as a consequence, put others in danger, we must respond with consequences of equal measure.
 
I want to take a moment to speak to other disturbing behaviors that took place that day. The events in the courtyard were exacerbated by a large number of student bystanders who fueled the actions by recording and sharing them. In this moment these students chose to serve their self-interest and satisfy their desire for “likes” and “reposts” over safety for their classmates and, quite frankly, themselves. Let it be known that the images that went up on social media from this incident are not images and stories to be admired or liked. We are better than this. I trust, in time, our community will be able put this event in perspective and again see our students for the wonderful young people they are and the amazing work they do in and outside of school.
 
In order to help our students better understand and truly appreciate the dangers and implications of participating in these types of activities, we are also committed to exploring and implementing learning opportunities for our student body designed to help them make better choices and mature from this experience as well.
 
That said, as the events of Friday, April 12, 2019, cannot be repeated, the administration and faculty of Westhill High School have implemented the following consequences:
  1.  The Courtyard will be closed during lunch until further notice.
  2. Students found cutting their classes will be sent home and suspended from school.
  3. Any Seniors engaged in behavior that is disrupting to the learning environment including, but not limited to, physical altercations, food fights, water fights, etc. will not be allowed to participate in graduation events, including walking and receiving their diploma with their class.
  4. Students engaged in behaviors that are in violation of school rules may forfeit their opportunity to earn school-based scholarships and or awards.
  5. Students who are found to be engaged in behaviors that are in violation of school rules may forfeit their right to participate and represent Westhill High School in athletic or extra-curricular activities.
  6. Going forward Senior and Junior Prom will be based on student behavior and a commitment of all students to work together as a positive and respectful community of learners.
  7. Any students who chose to escalate or continues to fuel the events from Friday will face a 10-day suspension and will be put up for expulsion.
It is with heavy heart that I sit and write out this list of consequences that we are resolved to implement in order to maintain the safety of all staff and students at Westhill. Please also know however that if in the wake of these events students demonstrate a commitment to the pursuit of safety, kindness and academic success, we may not have to implement any the above outlined consequences for the remainder of the school year.
 
Lastly, In the spirit of allowing the fullest dialogue possible regarding the events of April 12 we will be holding three separate forums with all Westhill stake holders. 
 

Forums:

Monday, April 22nd.
Teacher Forum:
2:30 PM until complete
 
Tuesday, April 23rd
Student Forum:
2:30 to 3:30 PM
Small Auditorium 
 
Tuesday, April 23rd
Parent/Student Forum:
7:00 to 8:00 PM 
Small Auditorium
 
For now, please enjoy the rest of your April break. Please know that I very much look forward to returning next week to continue our work together on behalf of our school and each other.
 
Best,
 
Michael Rinaldi 
Principal