Schools Against Disciplining Students Who Take Part In Walkout

18 March, 2018, 01:08 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • Wednesday marks one month since a gunman opened fire inside a high school in Florida killing 17 people many of them were students

Plus, students are usually required to attend school, and they can be disciplined for walking out and missing class.

The ACLU officials wrote that if a district chooses to enforce disciplinary action against students who participate in the March 14 protests, students can not be punished more harshly than students who are absent for other unexcused reasons.

Other school leaders around the nation have taken a tougher stance, even threatening to suspend students who take part in Wednesday's walkout.

The ACLU says students' First Amendment rights are protected while in school, adding that political speech, such as wearing clothing with messages, circulating petitions, and distributing literature is protected so long as it does not disrupt the learning environment.

The ACLU officials said it was understandable that students "may have strong reactions to the current issues related to school safety, and their efforts to understand, engage, and speak out about that should be encouraged, not deterred".

Niagara Falls, Lew-Port, Williamsville, and Cheektowaga Central, are just some of the schools we've heard from that are allowing walkouts by high school students.

However, many districts say they've spoken to students in middle schools and elementary schools and will either have a moment of silence, or nothing at all.

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Schools officials may choose to punish students less harshly, or not at all, for participating in walkouts or off-campus protests than for any other goal.

"The ACLU of Vermont may intervene if a student who leaves school as an act of political protest faces more severe punishment than a classmate would for say, ditching class to meet friends at a diner", the letter says.

The ACLU Florida has urged superintendents to allow the walkouts and protests to occur unimpeded.

"Administrators...are working with students and want them to learn from this event", he said. One of the principal goals of education should be to teach students the skills to argue persuasively for their viewpoint, to listen respectfully to other views, and to be open to changing their minds.

Schools also can't punish students for content they post on social media outside of school hours and when off campus.

For additional resources, please review the ACLU SoCal's Know Your Rights on student protest rights available at


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