Today, we received a letter from Dr. Thornton, CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, regarding the upcoming verdict for Officer William Porter's trial, the first officer to be prosecuted in the Freddie Gray murder case. While we appreciate the school system's' effort to keep students safe, we, the students of City Bloc, feel that Thornton's stance will inevitably stifle student's political agency and freedom of speech. By equating student walkouts with "vandalism, civil disorder, and [other] forms of violence," the BCPSS has characterized students' voices as inherently violent and destructive to the city that we all are tasked with protecting. To that point, all organized student protests to this date have remained peaceful because we, as student organizers, understand the importance of keeping students safe while empowering them to make change in their communities. Therefore, this letter released by BCPSS today not only proves why the issues that have been previously brought to light by student organizing efforts in regards to Dr. Thornton and the mayor were significant, but is also belittles students' capacity to effectively make change in our community. This letter offensively and dangerously conflates the productive and affirming acts of students with criminal acts that not at all contributed to the advancement of our city. These are the same thoughts that allowed our mayor to call us, Baltimore's youth, thugs, for fighting for the city she should have protected long ago. We will no longer tolerate this constant criminalization of our voices.