WASHINGTON - You might have heard about the National School Walkout, or maybe your child is planning on participating. Here’s what you need to know:
What is it and when: On March 14th at 10 A.M. students across the country are planning on walking out of school for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed on February 14th at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to organizers, the walkout is a call to Congress to “pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets, and in our homes and places of worship.”
Can students get in trouble for participating: If you’re wondering if students could get in trouble for the walk out, the answer to that is a little tricky. Some superintendents have said they will suspend students for participating in protests. According to the ACLU, a school is allowed to punish a student for missing class. However, the punishment must be the same is it would be if a student missed class for any other reason--the school can’t punish a student more harshly because the reason they missed class was the walkout. Of course, if students are disorderly beyond just walking out of class, they could get in trouble for that, too.
Could participating affect college admissions: More than 250 colleges and universities have released statements saying that if high school students are disciplined because of the walkout, it will not hurt their college admissions chances.
Whether your child is planning on participating, it’s a good idea to talk to them about the walkout and what to expect, so that you can make the right choice together.