ACLU Urges Respect for Students' Rights Ahead of Walkout

ACLU Urges Respect for Students' Rights Ahead of Walkout

Students will walk out of class at 10 a.m. and stay out of class for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting.

Gatnarek told the Herald-Leader Tuesday that ACLU Kentucky sent separate letters directly to officials in Oldham and Bullitt County after the Courier -Journal reported on March 7 that those districts would discipline students who participated in the walkout.

The Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking school officials not to punish students who take part in Wednesday's National School Walkout.

School officials are not required by law to punish students for walking out of class, says the ACLU.

ACLU-TN sent a letter to every school district in the state this week calling on school directors to uphold the students' right to protest.

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Students at more than a dozen Vermont schools say they are planning to join peers around the nation on Wednesday remembering those killed in a mass shooting on February 14 at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Holcombe has not recommended additional discipline if students stage walkouts. "We want to let them know that they can make change", ACLU Legal Director Leon Howard said. Colleges have also followed suit, with U.C. Berkeley tweeting: "We fully support your right to peacefully protest, and would never refuse your admittance for doing so". Several schools in the district are holding walkouts and other events with the permission and help of school administrators.

Jeff Francis, head of the Vermont Superintendents Association, said he didn't know of any schools that were taking a hostile approach to tomorrow's planned demonstrations.

Jay Nichols, head of the Vermont Principals Association said the principals he has spoken with have gone over planning with students and communicated how they plan to respond - mostly by treating it as skipping class. And while that's happening, teachers will continue to teach for students that don't want to leave the classroom. He said he welcomed the ACLU's guidance.

The ACLU says students' First Amendment rights are protected while in school, adding that political speech, such as wearing clothing with messages, circulating petitions, and distributing literature is protected so long as it does not disrupt the learning environment.

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