School districts across the country are planning for a student walk out this Wednesday March 14.
Gwinnett Schools appropriately noted, “If a school or school district approves or condones a walkout by students in the present situation, it must take the same position with any and all student groups that want to take similar action in the future, regardless of the cause being promoted.”
The Gwinnett position begs the question for those districts that are suspending their policies and allowing the walk-out to be sanctioned: What if future student led walk-outs are held that support or oppose various controversial topics and ideas; such as abortion, illegal immigration, gun rights, gun confiscation, etc.?
If the school district has set a precedent, allowing walk-outs in violation of board policy and the student code of conduct, where will this end? On what basis is board policy even allowed to be violated? Does this violation expose the school district to legal risk?
This is the plan for various school districts in the Metro Atlanta area:
DeKalb Schools – Superintendent Green announced DeKalb Schools is breaking from board policy and the student code of conduct to provide students a place to protest on campus during school hours. Principals are working with student groups who wish to participate in the protest. The school district is supportive of employee participation in the protest.
Cobb Schools – Cobb Schools is putting academics first. Cobb County School District will work with students to identify the best methods to accomplish this demonstration without interruption of normal school operations.
Clayton Schools – Clayton Schools will support the students and staff in peaceful demonstrations.
Gwinnett Schools – Gwinnett Schools is concerned about academic impact saying, “We believe the student walkout, however well-intended, could negatively impact our ability to meet our primary responsibility. Classroom learning will be affected if students miss instructional time, and the safety of students could be compromised if they leave class or campus without permission.”
Fulton Schools – Fulton schools originally opposed sacrificing class time for the protest, but has since walked that back saying it would support a structured activity during the walkout.
Atlanta Public Schools – APS Superintendent said, “It is also important for students to remember that disruptive “walkouts” are against district policy, and any student led demonstrations that have not received prior approval will result in disciplinary consequences. Said simply, while we support peaceful organized protesting that is school sanctioned (with prior approval), we do not support disruption of school or obstruction of the school district’s mission, process or function as explained in board policy.”
Walk Up, Not Out
Good suggestion. Lisa has noted a more proactive and repeatable recommendation proliferating on social media. Walk up to the kid that always sits alone at lunch, and invite him or her to join you. Include those students that struggle to assimilate, and show kindness to them. Doesn’t allow for cool selfies, but it would certainly be a more proactive way to effect change on the ground.
WSB TV 2 is reporting that DeKalb Schools Superintendent Green says “there are dozens of threats the district has investigated since the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.” … 59 to be exact at the time.