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Students can skip classes to attend protests under school board proposal — and it's on track to pass

A proposal to let public high school students in Montgomery County, Maryland, skip classes to attend political protests is expected to get the school board's approval. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

A proposal to let certain Maryland public high school students skip classes to attend political protests is expected to pass, The Associated Press reported.

The Montgomery County school board could pass the proposal as early as January, the outlet said, citing the Washington Post.

The measure is viewed as one of only a handful around the country that would allow students to take up to three excused absences per year to participate in protests or other forms of civic engagement during the school day, the AP reported.

School board member Patricia O’Neill said the policy would aim to prepare students to become “the next generation of leaders," the outlet added.

The board noted on its website that the measure covers "absences from school that are planned and approved in advance and not students participating in a walkout where they leave school property in the midst of the school day."

What if you want to make your voice known on this matter?

The school board is accepting public comments on the proposal until Dec. 16. Those who wish to comment — students, parents, staff members, and members of the Montgomery County community — can post them using a form on the school board website. The next school board meeting is Dec. 4.

How are observers reacting?

Hundreds of users commented on WUSA-TV's Facebook site regarding the issue, and a cursory glance at some reactions didn't bode too well for the proposal:

  • "If the school board approves this they need to be replaced!"
  • "Yet again, a total lack of common sense! Kids need to be in school, learning, not on the streets learning to be a public nuisance, they need to learn to be responsible, not irresponsible!"
  • "No wonder we have an epidemic of uneducated kids this days. Parents are being cheated, paying lots of money for an education their children are not getting. Shameful!"
  • "Can't believe this! No wonder our children are in such turmoil! The people of Montgomery County need to demand that the people who voted this in be fired immediately! Guess home schooling isn't as bad as I thought!"
  • "Welcome to the liberal world of education. They will be spending more time protesting than in school."

Not everyone appeared to be of that opinion, however, as one commenter noted: "I (respectfully) disagree. I think that such a 'field trip' would provide a great opportunity to brush up on civics. And I would certainly find THIS a more educationally valuable way to spend a day than on taking some useless standardized test."

One last thing…
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