While students nationwide walked out of class to protest for gun control on April 20, only a handful of Anne Arundel County students participated. Those students faced the consequences, and parents appear to support the punishments, WJZ-TV reported.
What’s the story?
On the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, gun control activists organized another National School Walkout.
Anne Arundel County Schools administrators informed students up front that they would face consequences if they participated in walking out during school hours. As a result, only 15 out of 82,000 students in the Maryland county participated.
“Eighty-two thousand of our students did exactly what we asked them to do,” a district spokesman said. “We had 15 students who chose not to do that, and we administered the consequences that we told them in advance we were going to administer.”
Students were disciplined with detention or suspension, depending on their situations.
Did the students, parents support the punishment?
There was no backlash from the local Parent Teacher Associations over the punishments.
“Sometimes, I feel like at this age they are walking out just to get out of school for a certain amount of time,” one parent said to WJZ.
“I felt the first time around was enough and it was not needed a second time, especially at my school because a lot of kids at my school were disrespectful in the walkout period,” student Megan Cunningham said.
This writer’s perspective
Anne Arundel County’s handling of the walkouts was much more effective than the way South Gate High School in California chose to go about it.
South Gate principal Gerardo Llamas, instead of following his school’s normal disciplinary procedure for leaving school, decided to institute a prom ban for any walkout participants.
Because he overstepped his authority by singling out the protesters, the ACLU swooped in and pressured the school into allowing students to walk out with no punishment at all.
It’s fine if a school wants to allow students to protest. But if a school wants to restrict the protest, it should follow normal discipline guidelines and avoid making a huge show out of the situation.