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Schools may discipline students who participate in National School Walkout gun control protests

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, staff and teachers exit the building following their return to school in Parkland, Florida on February 28, 2018. A National School Walkout protest is scheduled for March 14. (RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

Students around the world will walk out of their schools next week to protest for action on gun control and to honor the memory of those killed in the Parkland school shooting, Fox News reports.

What’s the story?

On March 14 at 10 a.m., students, faculty and other supporters will leave school for 17 minutes — one minute for each life lost in Parkland.

The walkout is organized by Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, which says the goal of the demonstration is to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

Nearly 200,000 students are expected to participate, including students from schools in Israel, Ireland and Mexico.

From the organization’s website:

We are living in an age where young people like us do not feel safe in our schools. This issue is personal for all of us, especially for those of us who are survivors of gun violence. We are walking out for ALL people who have experienced gun violence, including systemic forms of gun violence that disproportionately impact teens in Black and Brown communities. It is important that when we refer to gun violence, we do not overlook the impact of police brutality and militarized policing, or see police in schools as a solution. We also recognize the United States has exported gun violence through imperialist foreign policy to destabilize other nations. We raise our voices for action against all these forms of gun violence.

Will they be disciplined?

It depends on the school. Some districts, like Chicago Public Schools, support their students in their protest.

Other districts are undecided and will handle discipline on a case-by-case basis, or will mark students absent if they participate in the walkout and require them to make up any missed work.

Last month, Needville Independent School District in Texas warned students that participation in walkouts or political protests during school hours would result in a three-day suspension.

Numerous colleges and universities, including some Ivy League schools, have said they will not hold it against prospective students if they are disciplined for walkout protests.

“Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone’s admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school’s disciplinary policy,” Hannah Mendlowitz, a senior assistant director of admissions and recruitment at Yale University, wrote Friday.

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