On Wednesday March 14th, Nashoba Regional and many high schools around the nation participated in a national walk out in honor of the 17 lives killed in the Parkland shooting. Nashoba’s walk out lasted 17 minutes outside of the school, and an town hall assembly followed afterward.
Other high school students across the nation protested in front of the White House on the 14th, skipping their regular school day. Schools across the country have different rules regarding protests and have threatened to discipline students if they chose to participate. Although students have first amendment rights, they can still get in trouble for walking out of school. According to Vox Magazine, “It’s completely legal for a school district — or even a state — to discipline students for an unexcused absence if that is school policy. Students under 18 are required by law to go to school in most states, so they can be punished for missing class. But punishment can vary from state to state and from school district to school district.”
Many Twitter contributors and followers fumed over schools not allowing students to participate in this event. Due to fears of being punished by their school, some students were hesitant on participating and felt as though getting in trouble would be enough of a reason to not walk out.
Seniors, in particular, have been some of the most hesitant due to the fact that a suspension or other form of punishment on their record would put their college acceptances and scholarships in jeopardy. But, some seniors have received messages from their colleges claiming that their acceptances would not be in threat.
Quinnipiac University stated on Twitter: “Quinnipiac University is a community that supports students’ rights to express themselves peacefully. Students who are disciplined for peaceful protest or productive civic engagement can rest assured their admission into the university will not be adversely affected”.
Other colleges and universities all around the country have also stated that the seniors of the Class of 2018’s acceptances will not be affected if they participate in peaceful protest. Some of these colleges include UCONN, BU, WPI, Tufts University etc.
Colleges have expressed their feelings and applauded high school students for standing up for their rights. UMASS Amherst states in a tweet: “We are not ‘pushing a leftist agenda,’ ” read the tweet. “Peaceful civic engagement is encouraged at UMASS Amherst, regardless of the side of the political spectrum on which you fall. We embrace diversity — not just diversity of color, gender, and ethnicity, but also diversity of thought”.
Many seniors are sending their gratitude to these universities for sticking up for us high school students and understanding what we are passionate about.