Students’ Rights: Speech, Walkouts, And Other Protests

from ACLU

Students around the country are turning the heartbreaking school shooting in Parkland, Florida, into an inspiring push for change. Plans for coordinated student walkouts have been making national news and have already spurred disciplinary threats from some school administrators.

That’s why it’s so important that everyone – especially students and allies – learns about students’ rights.

More here.

Posted in Law and tagged , .


  1. Right before our eyes, the United States is witnessing a remarkable turning point in American history. The youth of America has assumed the responsibility of protecting their safety, a responsibility which has been neglected and abandoned by leaders in the government. When it has become painfully evident that politicians value instruments of death over the lives of Americans, there is nowhere to look for change but inwards. This past Wednesday, schools all over the nation stage walkouts to protest gun violence and the complacency of the government in resolving the epidemic. Signs were made, speeches were made through bullhorns, and silence was held to reflect and remember those who undeservedly lost their lives a month ago. There has not been this kind of civic engagement by the youth of America since the Vietnam War protest in the late 60’s and the early 70’s (see:

    It is easy to question the validity of these protests and based on the inexperience of these young Americans, but what does it say about those who question the protests when these students can recognize a national problem and take action enact change while the skeptics see nothing but a bunch “kids” trying to skip class. It is fair to say that the average high school does not know about all the different nuances of life, but at what age does one reach that level of wisdom? The ACLU provides a fantastic service in educating American students on their rights and their protections as American citizens. What makes these protests different from many others is the fervent and genuine nature of this movement. The youth have insurmountable passion and truly believe in the fight against violence, so much so that students have been prepared to accept punishment from administration (, walked out on their snow day (, and burst through gates which were containing them and preventing them from walking out ( The students of America are young and are still in the process of their learning, but the fight for what is right and good requires nothing more than a basic understanding of morals and of the world. These walkouts are founded in the fight for good against evil, and therefore all those who oppose the movement are not on the side of good.

  2. Students are the future of America and it is vital that students know their rights when they are in school. Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students are pushing for a change. An organized walkout was to happen in schools across the country and as always there were mixed reactions. The action of walking out of school was the less important part of the debate, but it is still important to understand. Just because students are in school it doesn’t mean they lose first amendment rights. Free speech, petition, and expression are all allowed but it cannot disrupt the functions of the school. The reason a walkout is problematic is because it directly violates a law that you must go to school and it is not the subject of the walkout that is getting students punished. Schools also cannot extend their powers to punish students away from school. The article states, “Outside of school, you enjoy essentially the same rights to protest and speak out as anyone else. This means you’re likely to be most protected if you organize, protest, and advocate for your views off campus and outside of school hours.” This includes social media as long as the content is not school related. It is students’ jobs to stay informed and be active in shaping our country’s future.

  3. Now during this chaotic period of American politics on topics such as gun control there is a targeted group that is frequently left out. Students have been forced to face the brunt of the attack even though they are simple young adults trying to get an education. Frequently after a school shooting we hear bickering between republicans and democrats on how to deal with gun control and it always seems to end with nothing changing. Recently students who have been fed up with school shootings becoming commonplace have staged a demonstration on supporting the parkland victims and saying no to school shootings. At 10 a.m. these students left for 17 minutes from their school in solidarity of the 17 victims of the parkland shooting. This article is a great asset for the students that protested as it told them about their rights. The article went over an important topic that students are allowed to exercise their 1st amendment right as long as it does not affect the school normal operation. Another thing the article mentions is the school does have the right to discipline you for walking out of the school. Many places have laws that require students to attend school and with that schools have the opportunity to discipline you for the action. Fortunately though many districts did not actually discipline students for their walkout as the administration staff have the same views as the students worrying about their safety. This walkout in my opinion was very much needed as many people didn’t hear what the students have to say as they are constantly overlooked in politics. This article was very important in helping spread awareness to students about their rights and that they should protest. In turn this article may have possibly inspired many students to participate in the protest as many may have been afraid of participation for the fear of excessive punishment. With the world around us greatly threaten as students hoping for a safe learning environment they should not have to worry about a student possibly being shot. Many people are now proud of the next generation standing up for what they believe.

  4. This article is a great source of information for all students. With the recent school shooting, students from all around are protesting and speaking out their opinions on the matter. The main point of this article is to educate students on their freedom of speech when it comes to protesting and speaking their minds both physically and over the Internet.
    The article states that the school district can discipline you for skipping class, but the severity is not increased due to the subject of the absence. I agree that students shouldn’t be allowed to be judged based on their beliefs, however I don’t believe students should skip school. There are certain circumstances in which students are allowed to miss a class or two, for example, doctor appointments. School and education are two of the most important parts of your life and should not be waived as easily. I believe students should have the right to protest, however it should not interfere with their education and other important matters.

  5. This is a vital time period for students to be aware of their surroundings and the political issues that are currently going on. It is important that they can stand up for the injustice happening, and even though they are students, they still have a voice which is powerful. This is important because we are the next generation, and if we don’t stand up for these acts now, then they will only get worse. The Florida shooting in Parkland on February 14 occurred when a deputy was unable to confront he gunman, and he stole a golf cart and rushed to the freshman building. A girl called 911 and was in hysterics. However, according to the surveillance video, it shows that the deputy in charge did nothing as the gunman killed 14 student, and 3 teachers. It appalls me that such actions are going by and they’re not being prevented. Yes, we protest, but it doesn’t stop it from happening again, and that’s why students should become aware of these kind of crimes going on, so they can work to make sure it doesn’t happen. If we are the next generation, the first step to moving forward is educating ourselves on this topic.
    One issue that arises in protests however, is that students get into trouble, stating that they are not allowed to wear specific clothing to support a cause, or they can’t protest on school property. However, we are allowed to as long as we abide by the code, be it dress code or school rules in general. Our rights to protest are protected by the First Amendment, and we should use this to our advantage. There are other ways of protesting as well, including social media. Social media is a huge part of our lives nowadays, and using this to our advantage is highly beneficial. Making posts and writing about these shootings is vital because it brings awareness to the public.
    This article made me realize how severe the situation is, and that we shouldn’t sit by and do nothing. We have rights to protest, and that’s the least we can do to protect the future generation.

  6. Unnecessarily punishing students for practicing their first amendment rights is harsh and unjust. It’s one thing if they were violating the school’s code of conduct. If they violated the code of conduct they should be punished according as stated in writing. Overly punishing or adding excess to the punishment because of personal biases is cruel. Professors and teachers should always throw their personal feelings and opinions away as soon as they enter their classroom. Regardless of the situation at hand, this should be standard. Also, educators should be open minded to all causes. They too are students on a more minuscule level. Students can learn from educators, and educators can learn from students. In this case, educators can learn a lesson on perseverance through the ambitious and courageous actions of their students.

    Yesterday, I was scanning my Twitter timeline. One woman shared her daughter’s experience with the protest. Her daughter was forced to stay inside by her teacher. If she left, she would have been suspended. When her daughter looked outside, she noticed other students, even teachers, participating in the protest. However, she was forced to stay inside. I deem this as cruel and unjust. The teacher allowed her feelings to inflict on the students practice of their rights. I believe in this case the teacher should face repercussions. I understand if the rules were set to suspend students who leave school earlier than dismissal, but even so they are not forced to stay in their seat. Although, I don’t believe his was the practice.

  7. After the recent horrific Parkland school shooting, may students have chosen to take it upon themselves and show what they stand by. By walking out, students are simply trying to express their opinions and rightfully so. The whole country is affected by this tragedy, and walking out should be an eye opener to the rest of the United States that there needs to be change But over and over again, school shooting continue to be a constant occurrence We all as citizens have to show we care, and that these inhumane crimes are not tolerant anymore. Its very important for our country to bring unity to one another and stand together. Walkouts are not happening out of bad intentions.This is as a way of healing and bringing about change before these shooting continue to drive our country straight to the gutter. These shootings have spiraled so far out of control that parents are hesitant to send their child to school for a day. I understand schools have certain regulations and rules students will still have to follow as mentioned in minute 13 of the video, but schools should lighten up their rules on walkouts, and allow students to have a voice for a day.

  8. In the tragic wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one of the deadliest school shootings, and the Las Vegas Strip shooting back in October, which was the deadliest mass shooting in history, many people are aggressively calling for change. Unlike anytime before, many people and groups are uniting in an effort for gun law changes on the local, state, and national level. Many are flooding calls and emails to their district’s representative and senator calling for action to be taken. However, the most active people in this movement are high school and college students, people who are the ones who feel greatly threatened. I remember watching horrific and absolutely heartbreaking videos of students who filmed the recent shooting on their cell phones. In the immediate aftermath, many of the students from this Parkland high school gave interviews to news outlets pleading lawmakers to take action for change. Student Emma Gonzalez, a victim of the shooting, became an icon for leading this movement for her speeches and for her standing up to powerful congressmen and an executive for the NRA. In a nationally televised Q&A, she received acclaim for asking questions directly while Senator Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch gave very vague answers.
    However, recently, many schools are voicing their support for this movement and for the victims of the Parkland shooting by staging walks out and protests. In many instances, students would walk out of school and meet at a pre-designated area where they would hold tributes, prayers, and protests. Many were protesting for the strengthening of security in schools and also gun law changes. Many held moments of silence for 17 minutes, a minute for each victim of the shooting. In my high school alone, more than half of my entire school walked out and met in our football field in the back of the campus. Everyone knelt for 17 minutes and after every minute, a name of a victim was read. A prayer and a call to stand for change followed this. However, as a result of this, many schools are cracking down on the students who are leading these protests and many are being disciplined. In some school districts, students are being suspended for 10 days. Even though the students have the right to stage protests, school and state policies allow these districts to levy disciplinary action. To school districts, the “broken rules” that lead to these actions are commonly issues of truancy, skipping classes, or causing distractions. For student who are willing to take these risks, I believe that they should be aware of the consequences that can happen. Even though I completely agree with this movement and support their right to protest, I believe that the students should have the knowledge of what they are risking and what they are putting fellow students to risk. I think it is also important for students to understand their rights when it comes to protesting.
    In my personal experience, I was apart of a walkout during my time in high school. The protest was for higher salaries and contracts for the teachers in my school district. Even though we had the right to walk out, many of us were disciplined for truancy. The leaders were suspended from school for 3 days. Even though I felt this was unfair, as we were defending and supporting our teachers, we had clearly broken school policy. I understood the risk but I took them anyway.

  9. In the town of Parkland, Florida, another school shooting has happened, but students are responding a bit different than past incidents. In this generation, everyone wants their voices to be heard and students are making their voices heard by scheduling coordinated student walkouts. School administrators are enforcing disciplinary threats against the students to not bring negative publicity towards the schools, but the message being portrayed from these actions is that schools are censoring the student’s freedom of speech. Students do have First Amendment rights of free speech in schools as long as they do not disrupt the functioning of the school or violate their content-neutral policies which basically is anything administrators find controversial or in “bad taste”. Schools are enforcing their ability to discipline students for participating in walkouts due to truancy. However, students are free to exercise their freedom of speech on social medias and outside of school grounds.
    I will admit that the school shootings that happen throughout the country are very tragic, but I feel like the coordinated student walkouts are counterproductive. Schools work hard to provide protection in their buildings, and there is bound to be slip ups throughout the country that lets events like shootings unfold. However, these students acting oppressed against their administrators is not helping them protect the students. In fact, in the event of a shooting, there students would be more in harm by being exposed to the open environments outside of school. Parents and administrators should argue with the Board of Educations in their town to hire more security to make the students feel more safe.

  10. To me, this blog post and video stood out as particularly poignant. Truthfully, I was never one who cared a tremendous amount about politics; I would always watch the news at night and in the morning and try to be somewhat attentive to what is going on in the world, but oftentimes, I would find myself opinion-less. Sure, there would be issues that I would care about more than others, but never to the point that I would feel myself totally inclined to learn my protesting rights in the event I felt compelled to advocate for something. In the recent years, I have been paying increasing amounts of attention to what has been going on in the news and what stuns me the most is the normalization of mass-shootings. We have reached a point where an atrocious shooting happens, it is all over the news for one or two days, and then it is as if it never happened. Following the recent tragedy at Parkland High School, this has begun to change. Schools across the nation have staged incredibly powerful walkouts, despite the in-school consequences to show support and solidarity to those affected by the shooting and to also press lawmakers to implement better gun-control legislation.
    What interested me in this video that I did not know prior was that a school has every right to punish you for walking out of class, but the punishment must be no different from that of a student who cut class for “standard” reasons. It felt empowering to know that there are organizations, such as the ACLU, that will defend your right to protest if you are being punished excessively or unfairly for the utilization of your right to assemble. Knowing that large-scale organizations will support you should be motivation enough for those who were afraid before to now stand up for what they believe.

  11. I, and many other people, are tired of these school shootings happening for what seems like all the time. Seeing another school shooting happening on the news only increases the anger I have towards the completely incompetent government of the U.S. Although I see it happen all too often, Parkland struck a particularly uneasy chord with me. How can we allow this to happen? How can we call ourselves a first-world developed country when our deaths due to shootings surpass that of even war-torn countries? Students walking out of their classes in protest of the U.S. government’s inaction to the lack of federal gun control was a shred of hope in an apathetic world. For the first time in my life, the youth took every step to try to change the course of history. This is equivalent to the youth in the 1960’s and 70’s protesting against the useless Vietnam War. Only, that had meaning behind it. Simply fighting for gun control laws isn’t enough. Kids that are walking out of their schools in protest fail to understand that criminals will always find a way to circumvent the laws in place and obtain dangerous weapons. This is much to the inconvenience of law abiding citizens, who would be left defenseless if their guns were confiscated. There need to be alternative solutions that would reduce the chances of a deranged individual(s) doing the damage they seek to do. Taking away law abiding citizens’ guns is quite literally missing the point, and this would effectively give criminals the leverage in order to commit unspeakable acts that have not previously been seen before. So, all in all, students should be protesting the ridiculousness of their position as vulnerable sheep waiting to be slaughtered, rather than trying to take away guns from everybody, which would make it even more dangerous for themselves to go to school.

  12. In the unfortunate wake of the shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida it is nice to see that there are resources and information for students who are thinking about walking out in support of gun regulation. Some students know that they might face some type of retaliation from their school if they walk out and they feel scared that they will not be able to go to college or will be negatively impacted by this. Many colleges in New Jersey have come out and said that they will still be admitting students regardless of school record if they obtain a negative one for protesting something that they believed in peacefully. To me, I think it is fair for students to walk out to show school administrators and government that they want to be safe and feel safe at school. In my town, every school said that they strived for students to feel safe in school no matter what, and it is not being upheld not because there was a school shooting, but because students willingly said I do not feel safe so I am going to peacefully protest. I did not feel “safe” at my high school even though there were security guards monitoring the hallways and occasionally a police officer present. It felt more like Big Brother is watching us, rather than I feel totally safe here if something were to occur.
    If I were still in high school I would have participated in the walk-out. As time has gone on, we hear more and more about deadly mass shootings not just in schools, but also in society. For example, the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando (2016) had been the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history before the shooting in Las Vegas occurred in October 2017. Most recently there was a shooting at a high school in Maryland, thankfully not many were injured but we are hearing in the news that all these shootings are occurring. Maybe it is time to change the current gun laws and make them stricter as I really do not know how many more school shootings have to happen before we change sometime. While saying that all guns should be taken away is not my point, we need to make sure that those who are law-abiding citizens and very responsible gun owners do not get negatively impacted by this. In other countries, there have been fewer mass shootings as their gun laws are more strict and obtaining the gun is a process that takes a lot of time and really makes sure that the person is fit to own a gun. When the dog died in an overhead bin on a United Airlines flight, we had something go through Congress, but when the safety of human beings are in question we are working as fast. I 100% agree with students protesting as their lives are not really being taken into consideration when that of a dog is protected more.

  13. After a tragic event that occurred at a high school in Parkland, Florida, students are pushing for a change that would cause attending school to be more comfortable. Recently, there has been students walk outs at middle and high schools to represent that the law should change in regards to people carrying a gun. The part when students were walking out of school is something to pay attention to because I believe that we should listen to their reactions of the shooting that occurred last month and consider what they want in order to create a positive school environment. However, these walkouts are causing some students to receive a suspension because of their actions and being insubordinate toward their school policies. Also, school shootings continue to happen across the country and the government should realize that there needs to be a change with gun control to decrease the amount of students dying each year. Students are attending school to receive an education that would help prepare them for college, not to feel uncomfortable coming to school every day without having thoughts of someone shooting up the school. From my point of view, I believe that students should be punished if they don’t follow their school’s code of conduct because it’s representing insubordination and rude behavior toward the administrators. These protests from students today could cause a large conflict in America that the government will have to look into for gun control and for a safe school environment.

    As a result, a variety of schools across the country are showing their support for victims involved in the Parkland shooting by enforcing stronger security for a safe environment for all students. However, this shooting caused a numerous amount of student walkouts to occur and most students would be disciplined if they refused to follow their school’s policy. Students do have First Amendment rights of free speech in schools but they still have to follow the school’s policy or else they can face a possible suspension because of their negative actions. Some school administrators were strict about students walking out to the point where some of them either got expelled or suspended for two weeks and I agree with this because students attend school for an education, not to start protests on recent incidents. School and state policies are required to give disciplinary actions if students refuse to follow their rules and regardless of them protesting, they shouldn’t continue to repeat it when they were told multiple times to end protesting. From these actions, it creates a variety of distractions involving students, causing them to skip class and not receive a positive education as they expect for attending school. I believe that students should just do what they’re told to do when they arrive at school and let the government handle ways that they can help students feel more comfortable at school without creating protests and students getting either expelled or suspended.

    From my point of view, I believe that these school shootings are tragic events that affects everyone around the world because it causes them to worry how the world is today. Schools provide education for students to prepare them for the future and protection to those attending the school rather than having students feel uncomfortable while learning and starting protests as the aftermath. However, students refusing to follow their school’s policies is just creating more drama in the community and causing more students to miss school due to suspensions. With students getting suspended from school, it puts a negative impression on the school on how to enforce students to avoid protests and to attend school ready to learn. Parents and administrators should argue to the Board of Education that they should increase security for their school district to prevent shootings such as the one in Parkland and a safe school environment for all staff and students. Also, schools should enforce administrators to keep the students inside the building to reduce the amount of suspensions and students walking out to create drama around the whole school. Overall, schools should listen to how their students create to this recent tragic incident without creating protests and a comfortable school environment, and increase security within public schools to reduce the amount of school shootings occurring around the country.

  14. Recently, schools around the nation are taking a stand after the Parkland, Florida school shooting. Students of the schools are leaving and protesting outside to express the message that the government needs to implement stricter gun laws and to fight against the NRA. These recent events raise the question on what rights the students participating in the protests have in accordance with their school policies. The article makes clear what students should expect if they end up participating in events such as school protests.
    Most students would expect that once you walk into school, you have no rights because of the restrictions schools place on even the smallest of matters, e.g. going to the bathroom or dress-code. However, every student has First-Amendment rights while being educated if they are using the rights to not disrupt the school or its policies. If participating in a protest, students can be disciplined due to school district policies. I found this part surprising, mostly because it had never occurred to me that expressing your opinion peacefully could be consequential in terms of punishment. It does make sense, although I wish this weren’t the case. Students should be able to protest without being disciplined, however I do understand it is conflicting with the law if they are not. The article also mentions that students are free to participate in protesting outside of school, and that students are able to post their opinions on social media without any consequence from the school board.
    All in all, from a personal perspective, I think the school protests connected to the Parkland shooting are fantastic. Although the fact a mass shooting of 17 kids and educators took us so long to finally make a huge impact, it is bringing students together to fight for something that may seem to be not our issue, or something that only “adults” should be handling. Through the leadership from various Parkland students, including student Emma Gonzalez, an entire nation of schools are joining together to speak out against the government and the NRA. At my old high school, the students were never really concerned with government matters or taking a true stand. However, when the student walk-out day occurred last week, almost my entire school stood outside the building, wearing t-shirts they made as support, and vocally protesting the NRA and gun-control laws. Something that I never thought would be done happened; which shows the empowerment this movement is presenting. A march in New York City is occurring this week in continuation of the student protests, and although I wish I could attend, I hope the march reaches the attention of government officials and NRA advocates.

  15. The ACLU did an outstanding job putting this information together and disseminating it out to all of those that are interested. The First Amendment in the Bill of Rights affords us our civil liberty to speak freely without intervention from the government. Students need to understand how their actions in school can have consequences despite being afforded this right.
    It is important for everyone, especially the youth of this country to be involved in politics and the issues that plague or society. We have all been afforded the right to ignite change by standing up for what we believe in. The ACLU referenced Colvin and Tinker in their material as relatable examples to those that stood up for what they believe in.
    In the past week thousands of students have participated in school walkouts to protest the overwhelming gun violence that this nation has endured. The schools have threatened to discipline the students to curb the walkouts, however this did not stop many of the gatherings from taking place. Many of the schools are now in the process of discipling these students. (
    While these walkouts are obviously disruptive and pose safety challenges for the staff of these schools, the schools have an opportunity to be proactive and join the students. Why fight against them, why not take a few hours out of one day to teach the students about how activists have changed this country and walk alongside them to not only honor the victims of this violence but to call for change. The schools have an opportunity to control the situation, incorporate a lesson and send a message to rest of the country.

  16. As headlines are dominated by the high school shooting in Maryland gun violence in America remains an ongoing issue. According to, We’re only 11 weeks into 2018, and there have already been at least 17 school shootings in the US — including the one in Maryland on Tuesday. In the wake of the Parkland Florida shooting that killed 17, students all the over the country decided that it was enough. It was time to break the silence and take action with a coordinated student walkout. The student walkout is seen as disruptive and school administrators threatened disciplinary action. Numerous schools have stated consequence for protesting, and many students now face detentions, suspensions, and open hostility from their school board. Their decision to use their pain and anguish to call for change should be commended, instead, they are punished. This highlighted the need for students to know their rights and the consequences they will face. According to the article by ACLU, students have the right to speak out, hand out flyers and petitions, and wear expressive clothing in school – as long as you don’t disrupt the functioning of the school or violate the school’s content-neutral policies. With 17 school shootings this year thus far, what can be more disruptive. How can these students learn and function in an environment with so much uncertainty and danger?

    The founding fathers wrote, in their Declaration of Independence from England, that the basis of the document is their belief that “all men are created equal” and that each man is granted, by God, a set of “inalienable rights”: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.( Every student has the right to feel safe in school. Every day, they are required by law to attend school yet very little is done to keep them safe. After every shooting, politicians on both sides cannot come to a common understanding and no solution. This is why these students who should be focusing on their education are forced to take matters into their own hands.

  17. This is a great source of information for students participating in the protests for change regarding stricter gun laws. It is important for students to understand that whether we enjoy discussing politics or not, these issues have a serious impact on our lives. Personally, I am happy to see these students and teachers exercise their rights to call upon the government for change. However, the circumstances behind it are incredibly unfortunate.

    While I am glad to see these students push for change in their communities, it angers me to see that these students are literally fighting for their lives, and there are people who oppose what they are protesting for. While browsing Twitter one day about a month ago, I stumbled upon these horrible tweets by a political commentator named Dinesh D’Souza, who mocked protesting students after Florida lawmakers rejected a bill that would ban assault rifles after the school shooting in Parkland occurred ( He also had people supporting him with equally vile tweets, and reading the responses made me sick to my stomach.

    It’s unfortunate that it has come to this. It’s unfortunate that there are people who value their ability to own military grade weaponry (designed to kill, not protect), more than the lives of the individuals who will become the future of this country. It’s unfortunate that we live in a time where children are more mature and more responsible than the adults who claim to be their protectors. The circumstances behind these protests and how people react to the protests are absolutely horrible beyond comprehension, and I cannot believe that there are people who need a reminder that human life is worth more than the weapons designed to take it.

    As I have stated before, this is an excellent resource for students who want to participate in the protests. Education is important, especially now in an age of rampant intolerance and the spread of blatant lies. However, not only is it important for the students to educate themselves and exercise their rights, but it is equally, if not, more important for the adults in power to understand that this has gone too far. Their guns, or the money they earn from selling their guns, is worth far less than the lives that have unfortunately met the end of countless barrels that should only be seen in a war zone.

  18. This is such a crucial time to be a student and we are the future of United States. Its very important for us students to know our rights and never forget them. The major point of this topic to educate all students and to make them realize your freedom of speech. Due to all of the recent disastrous shootings its very important for all students to stand up for what they believe in and to make a stand for change. Students should be able to walkout if they please as we all know people’s rights and education are two of most important things in the country. All students have a limited amount of absences in a semester and if a student chooses to use one those absences to walkout for something they believe then it shouldn’t be a problem. Just because you’re a student the rights don’t change it will remain the same. Us as millennials have the power to change the world and make a difference for the future. I believe that all guns should be banned because it will make the country safer. There is no reason for anyone in the US to have a gun except for the police. I personally know a mother who recently lost her son in a shooting in Philadelphia, to make a long story short he was eating in a parking lot around 1am and the shooter waked up to his car and shot him. Our country needs to take notes form countries such as Japan for example, no citizen is allowed to carry any sort of fire arms and you never hear the country having heart breaking tragedies like in the US. In countries like Japan, South Korea, and Australia it’s much more difficult for a citizen to get a gun there is an all-day class followed by a written test. Then there is a shooting-range test, which requires 95% accuracy to pass. ( It’s very important for all students around the world to take a stand on this sensitive subject and create a change.

  19. I found this article to be a great read. Im very much a person who likes to engage in action rather than sitting and talking about a problem, so it’s nice to hear that so many kids are stepping up and taking action to promote and try to change the things they believe in. I know for me as a highschool student I didn’t know anything about protesting, but if there’s one thing I thought I knew it’s that you couldn’t protest at school. So hearing the author talk about and describe how students don’t lose their first amendment just because they walked into their respective high schools, how students have the right to speak out, hand out flyers and petitions, as long as they don’t disrupt the functioning of their school or violate their school’s policies was great to hear. I know for someone like me it would’ve been great to know these things back when I was in high school because like I said I was always about taking action, however I just didn’t know the right ways to go about things, and what I could and couldn’t do. It was also nice to learn about what schools can do to discipline students who protest; that way kids who are reading this article can learn what might happen to them if they participate in a protest and also they can learn workarounds for how to avoid punishment for protesting. The author talks about how because the law in most places requires students to go to school, schools can discipline kids for missing class. But what they can’t do is discipline you more harshly because of the political nature of or the message behind your action. So in essence what that means is if you protest during class hours you will receive the same discipline as a kid who skipped class, but it was nice to learn that schools cannot go above and beyond that just because they do not agree with the things that you chose to protest. What this also taught me is that if a kid wants to work around being punished for protesting he or she could just protest in the morning before classes start or in the evening just after classes end. Although it may be a little less effective, I still imagine that if done at these times that students or group of students that are protesting will garner quite a bit of attention. I also liked how the author went over how students can protest on social media. The author talks about how students have the right to speak their mind on social media and how their school cannot punish them for the content they post off campus and outside of school hours as long as it does not relate to their respective school. Again I found this interesting because it just teaches young people about what they can and can’t do and how to stay out of trouble when trying to protest for the things they believe in.

  20. When I first heard about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, I thought, “Wow, here we go again with the innocent lives. Where are the changes in the gun laws?” After each shooting, I thought that eventually, improvements would be made to decrease the amount of violence around the nation. However, it still has not happened, and the situations are still getting worse day by day. The more days that pass by, the more people start to realize that they feel the leaders within the U.S. government are abandoning them and their well-beings. As a result, protests begin to arise, fighting gun violence, all while the government is dealing with many other problems, especially within our own economy, which is only getting worse.
    It is easy for the government to suspect falsely stated facts and the low credibility a student has when it comes to the main reason for a protest. On the flip side of the situation, they must realize that students also have the right to speak their minds on both political and non-political issues regarding the country they live in. In fact, the ACLU is a great example of providing education to American students about their rights and protections as citizens. I feel that the sooner and the younger someone is when learning their rights, the more passion and thought he or she will bring to the voting polls when choosing the right leaders for their nation.
    However, in my opinion, it is also much easier for the people and students like me to protest these complicated issues that need to be solved, but we also have to understand that it takes much more than protesting and speaking out to the public to solve the most irritating of issues. In addition, we have to see that the government does not have all the power in solving them, and that we the people are also responsible for our actions.

  21. This article was relevant and helpful for students who plan on marching or protesting this month. Kids usually do not feel like they have much power to make a difference in the world. They have little to no money, cannot vote, cannot travel far, and their opinions are generally thought of as not as important as adults’. However, in this era of social media, it is becoming easier for adolescents to have a voice, and see that they can make change. The upcoming March for Our Lives has been championed by teenagers, teenagers who have just been through a tragedy nonetheless. Social media has helped them get their message across, and this has been an example for other kids that this kind of movement is possible. The people who have been and possibly could be victims to gun violence are the ones ready to make a change. School walkouts and protests over the past few weeks have sparked controversy, however, because of students being punished for missing class, and some for staying in class.

    This article was important because it outlined exactly what students can expect, and what they can and cannot be punished for. While some schools managed these walkouts, having planned out ceremonies or special lessons for the day honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, others were more harsh on students, suspending those who walked out or tried to protest. From seeing a video on Facebook, even a school that had managed their walkout (let students miss class and prepare speeches to give to fellow students), censored what the students could say, as after a student started going off script, an administrator quickly turned off her microphone and told her to get off stage. Thankfully, even though some students may be silenced in their schools, the power of social media has led to hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people speaking about gun violence and what we can do to stop it. As this article pointed out, students cannot be punished for what they post on social media, so they should use this as one of their biggest weapons in communicating their message. I am personally very proud of how active so many students have been in the wake of one of the most recent school shootings (sadly it is not even the most recent anymore as of March 20). Gun violence should not be normalized, and these students should stand up for what they believe in, and feel safe whether they are in school, home, at a park, concert or anywhere.

  22. Sadly, we see shootings in many public areas such as the club in Orlando, the public street in Las Vegas, and Sacramento. Just recently, we had another one in Parkland, Florida. However, on March 24, activists plan to protest on the streets of Washington DC. Although the United States is no stranger to demonstrations, this time is different. This time around, students are heavily involved. This time, they are the ones who are spearheading this special occasion. Every American who has access to the internet knows about the Parkland Shooting that happened a few weeks ago. Although we do not exactly know why students are finally riled up to speak against the tragedy of school shootings, we know that many students are very livid and want safer schools. Perhaps, this time will be different. Perhaps, politicians will take a step forward to resolve this appalling cycle of school shootings. Perhaps, we are way over our head, thinking that anything significant will come out of this demonstration. Although we will have to wait and see the outcome of this nationwide protest, for now, we can observe and learn from past demonstrations that succeeded and did not succeed.
    One of the famous cases on modern undertakings that succeeded is the Civil Rights Movement. Many factors contributed to its’ victory. Not only did the Civil Rights Movement had a voice and a face, the Civil Rights Movement had resilient supporters and activists who were beaten, jailed, and persecuted to pursue their collective agenda: to have equal rights with that of white citizens. For those of us who went to American schools, we all know this by heart. Many people around the world certainly recognize MLK’s “I have a Dream” speech. However, during that historical day, MLK almost was unable to deliver his famous lines because someone sabotaged the sound system. Luckily, the Army Corps of Engineers fixed it right on time. Sometimes, I cannot help but think that the Civil Rights Movement’s success was a miracle, especially when there were so much odds against MLK and fellow activists. Another interesting fact is that the Federal Bureau of Investigation even labeled the famous reverend as a “whole-hearted” communist. Even with the biggest law enforcement agency trying to discredit him, the movement did not die. The rest is history. From this protest, we can see that resiliency, resiliency, and more resiliency greatly mattered.
    On the other hand, the recent Occupy Wall Street Movement was something else. The movement’s agenda was to address the socioeconomic disparity in the United States. However, the entire social crusade seemed to fizzle itself out. Some argue that it failed while others argue that it succeeded in pursuing its agenda. However, the social effort was confusing in many aspects. In New York City, police officers sprayed with pepper sprays and arrested demonstrators. The movement was hectic and chaotic. Another difference is that the Occupy Movement had no leadership, no structure, and the actions that it took were often ambiguous. There was no sense of purpose behind its action. In fact, most of the time, the protestors were lounging in their tents. Depending on whom you ask, the movement did cause a stir.
    Perhaps, the students will make a difference this time around. Perhaps, the demonstration will become a bust and we will continually see the never-ending cycle of shootings in different parts of the United States. If there is one thing that we can all take away from these two movements, we all need a loud voice and determination if we want to change something we do not like.

  23. What happened in Parkland, Florida on February 14 was a devastating tragedy that shocked the country to its core. This has, inevitably, brought the issue of gun control up, especially now that students across America have begun to skip their classes to protest. Of course we as students have rights to protest, but it does not come without repercussions. When a student skips class, he can be penalized by the school because the law requires students to go to class and in breaking that rule, can be subject to suspension or penalty. When I was in high school, one year we were planning to do a walkout for our principal, who we all thought highly of, getting fired. The teachers informed us that if we walk out, we will not be able to go to any sports practices and it would count towards out practice requirement for games and meets. The same would go for any student who would attempt to walk out for gun control. Through all of the buzz going on about the Parkland victims and the gun control debate, one has to take a step back and think about the issue that they are protesting. My hearts and prayers go out to the people in Parkland, and all schools who have experienced a tragedy like this, but just because you happened to be in one of those tragedies, it does not mean all of a sudden you are an expert on the policy. When people decide to protest, especially people who are skipping class to do it, they should be fully educated on the matter before they go out and voice their opinions, otherwise they just look ignorant and blind to the matter that is going on. There is a reason why the gun control action is not being passed, and there is a reason why there are so many people against it. In regards to the Parkland shooting, gun control is not the defining issue here. The issue is that police and FBI knew about the shooter for months and did nothing about it. There were Instagram pictures and signs of it from the shooters relatives that informed the police about the risk that he posed, yet nothing was done. That is not a gun control problem, that is an ignorance problem. In addition, recently in Maryland, a shooting took place but was stopped quickly by an official with a gun. There were people killed, but many lives were saved by this heroic officer that did not crumble under pressure and took action. Guns in the right hands can save lives, but in the wrong hands, it can be deadly.

  24. After watching the video about students’ rights: speech, walkouts, and other protests and also reading the article, I have become more educated on the first amendment right in public schools. I did not know that, a student is allowed to protest on school property unless it is disrupting, the functioning of the school. Also, I am amazed on how the school systems around the country try to handle the students protesting during school hours. It is appalling to see what measures school administrators are conducting to prohibit these students from protesting. I feel that the school administration should embrace the rights of students.

    High schools are places where students transition from children to adults, and they also learn how to think for themselves. Those are the years where every child gains their ability of independence. These are the years where students learn how to become adults in an ever so changing world. If these adults are disciplining students because, every single person has the ability to voice their own opinions then how are we teaching the youth to become adults?

    According to the article it states that, “The impulse to discipline and control young people may come from the desire to avoid a contentious conversation in the short term, but resorting to punishment doesn’t solve the problem, and it doesn’t keep kids safe.” The students that are in high school are old enough to take to about the ongoing issues of gun control. I believe it is important for high school students to share their opinions because, they are the upcoming generation that may be able to make a difference.

    In conclusion, I believe that if the administrators of the school systems continue to discourage the students to protest in their beliefs with threats of disciplinary actions then, the situations will not every change in life and will always remain the same. If we continue to suppress the youth to become leaders then what will the future look like? We need to start putting our faith in the youth because, that is who will become leaders in the future. Is there hope to break the cycle or will history repeat itself? We need to teach these students to think for themselves. To make the right decisions in life and also, they need to learn how to be independent. If adults keep leading the way in life then, it will become extremely difficult for a leader to surface. I believe certain rules need to be broken to show the majority what is right from wrong. We are a society that learns from experience to realize what mistakes we have made.

  25. Protests are always very powerful movements. Although many of them may be shut down or looked upon negatively by those not a part of them, they display a community of individuals sharing a common belief and expressing how they feel based on a specific public matter. Protests can come in a variety of forms but one of the more common forms talked about are walkouts that are taking place presently in schools nationwide in order to make change in our government after the recent school shooting in Parkland Florida. These walkouts are going on in the hopes of gun reform, although there are many other requests made by protestors that are not as reasonable. The way I see it is that the people of the United States want to make a difference and so does the government, but you cannot make change without agreement. I see these protests as powerful attempts to make change, but what citizens do not realize is the amount of work and effort that goes into laws and reforms along with the consequential turn of events that may take place. Aside from stricter gun policy people argued for stronger building materials in schools for children’s’ safety, walls that would protect from bullets. How reasonable is that? Do they expect the government to knock down every school and rebuild it? Even if they did, how much would that cost us as taxpayers? There needs to be balance in order to please everyone and in order to keep our environment sustainable. With that being said, walk outs are being done to try and rid of the NRA and all that it stands for, trying to ban guns or demand immediate reform, which is almost treason if you think about it because they are going against our country’s beliefs which are directly stated as our rights as citizens in the Constitution. Again, what these petitioners do not realize is the time it takes in order for change to come. There are many processes and they are actually taking place as well. Recently, Governor Rick Scott of Florida, one of the largest NRA supportive states, broke with the NRA to sign one of the most aggressive gun reforms in years. The law consists of a raise in age limit to purchase guns, from 18 to 21. It also has a three-day mandating period on buying a gun and a ban on buying bump stocks! There is also 400 million dollars put to mental health services and school security. I do not think all the walkouts are what opened American’s eyes and there are other ways to make a difference and with work and effort, change will come, not by skipping class to sit around and complain about the past.

    • I have come to understand a fact after having researched and gained knowledge on successful and unsuccessful protest during the Civil Rights Movement. One thing that I would like to note that change is not ever dependent on agreement. Change is dependent on compromise. Most often, in order to make a change, one has to compromise something. Whether it be some of the demands thought of in order to create or enforce change, someone’s education, someone’s life, and so much more. I feel that nothing is ever quite unreasonable if you think about it from the perspective of another. Yes, there will always be a need of money to make a change happen, whether to fund a march or market and advertise to people in order to get their attention. Yet, one must be open-minded. One must educate themselves on the past in order to understand a better way to go forward in the future. Experience is not always gained by the situations that we endure ourselves, but also by the experience of others that we learn about. We know as a people once we die, we cannot come back to life. We know this from the experience of death by others. Writing off the past can cause damage.
      Something I would also like to note ids that if you look back into the past, or if you educate yourself on the experience of others, you will know that protesting is what causes change to happen. A person who is making billions of dollars immorally and who is also powerful, is not going to be quick to change their ways unless their source of money or power is threatened. For example, a gun reform to raise the age in order to purchase a gun would not come about unless people made their concerns evident and threatened by boycotts, marches and more, the source of income and power to said Governor. Nothing ever really happens without a reason. Everyone has an agenda. These students that decided to make their voices heard are the future. If these students decided to sit in their classes and allow people above them to stay set in their ways without confronting them, then incidences like what happened in Florida would and will continue to keep happening.
      Think about all the school shootings that you heard about growing up. I heard about many as I grew up. Why do you think so many occurred? How come they did not stop, if there are other ways to make change? Think…does change really happen if a powerful statement is not made in one way or another?
      Nothing ever really happens without a reason…

  26. When it comes to student rights, a lot of people think it’s up to the teachers and school staff to set an example for what is the right thing to do. Lately though, It seems that the students are the ones who are working hard to show the world that safety laws here in the United States must change. In 2018, the Parkland, Florida school shooting killer over 15 students at Stoneman Douglas High School, and the gunman was able to obtain the firearms he used legally, despite his past altercations with the law. High school students across the states are outraged, and have staged walkouts during school hours, in order to protest the gun control laws that allowed the assailant to commit this crime. The U.S. government’s policy on gun control has been around for quite some time, and students believe that citizens must be of a certain age to purchase firearms in addition to a background check and psychological evaluation. There are some teachers out there who support what the kids are doing and encourage them to use their right of assembly. Most on the other hand, believe they should stay indoors, and are threatening those who walk out with expulsion from their school. It’s not hard to see why so many people are upset with the government, and are doing whatever they can to get their attention. The sheer amount of firearms available in this country are enough to make anyone sick. While some may argue that a gun is simply a tool and that people are the only ones who kill each other, guns make it much easier to take lives rather than knives and rope. It’s important for people to realize that there’s no perfect solution to stop people from getting guns. There are ways that people can settle their differences without having to kill each other, but it just seems like we spend far too much time alone instead of talking to each other. If a teenager threatens to burn down the school, or shoot people for no reason, we must take it as a legitimate threat, and not assume that they are just bluffing to get attention. Non-violent protests are a good way to support a cause, without having to fight others to get your point across. It doesn’t help that school districts are afraid that these walkouts will affect students’ grades, district funding, and their permanent records. But it’s a risk we must be willing to take so the congress in Washington will stop turning a blind eye everytime a gunman takes innocent lives in the confines of a public building. Working together to make a statement shows people that you are not afraid to take action, and will not stand down just because others aren’t willing to put down their guns. It’s only a matter of time before more people join these walkouts and refuse to come back to school until gun control laws change for the better, now and in the future. Education is important of course, but saving future lives from future shootings shows that no matter the risk, good students will always fight to protect one another.

  27. We are in some difficult times in the US. There seems to be a new shooting whether it’s a school, movie theatre, etc. Now I think we are seeing students who are sick and tired of all the violence. So now we are starting to hear their voices loud and clear. Over the last however many days and weeks we have seen a bunch of high school students get together and do a walkout for the Florida school shooting. This has struck a nerve in a lot of people and it has also made a lot of people extremely proud. We live in a country where we have this freedom of speech even in schools even though it may seem like we do not. The fact of the matter is we do have our rights even in schools. I understand why people are upset over these walkouts and I also understand why it makes other people very proud.
    It is important to for children today to understand that they will have their rights for however long they are in school. However, even if you do exercise your rights you can still be punished by the school. So people are upset that some have been punished for exercising their first amendment right buy doing a walkout. What I think people are forgetting is that schools also have their own rules and skipping class can result in punishment. So whether we like it or not the walkout was still technically them skipping class which can warrant for punishment. I for one am all for exercising your rights in school but I also am all for the school following along with their rules even if it means punishing someone for exercising their rights. I know this will not be the last time there is a discussion about this topic I just hope that both sides to this discussion can at least understand why their views are what they are.

  28. Convenience. Most people do not agree or willingly want to accept what is not convenient or understandable to them. I would say that at times even for me, I have to catch myself from making assumptions or being closed-minded about topics.
    When you think about it, why would you want a person to have the freedom of speech to talk about things such as not allowing the desegregation of a race? Why would I want a member of the Ku Klux Klan to have any right to speak their mind about discriminating against others races such as mine? But then you have to keep in mind, they are thinking the same thing about black people or white people who are empowering those of color through speech and urging these colored people to fight for what is rightfully theirs. I would not want someone to take my freedom of speech away.
    On another note, you do have to keep in mind what is morally right or wrong. With keeping that in mind, you must also realize that everyone has a different perspective of right and wrong. Everyone deals with the right thing being something that protects them and the wrong thing being something that hurts them. Our perception of what is moral is selfish in that defense. When thinking of all the different perspectives, one must also keep in mind that this world let alone the U.S. contains millions and billions of people who all have their own perspective. This is why such things as slavery occur or the holocaust or genocide at its core. But we cannot take the way the freedom of speech from people even if we do not agree with them. Even if we feel that what they are saying is wrong.
    I understand what the Supreme Court’s decision made available to us as American Citizens. While I do not always agree with what other people are saying, I need to keep an open-mind. I do not condone murder; I do not condone the harming of others. I care about all people. Which is why I feel that no one should be stripped of their freedom to speak their mind even if what they say is controversial. It is up to the listener to judge what the person is saying and decide for themselves if what that person is saying is ethnical.
    If a person does feel that murder is moral, then I do feel that the U.S. should prevent what is unethical, but allow each person to their own morals. There is a difference in not allowing a person to speak their mind, and not allowing a person to take action to what they speak.

  29. Ever since the school shooting in Parkland, guns have been a bigger issue than ever before. A lot of this has to do with the high school students speaking out, protesting, and making their voice heard. I like that they are doing this because they will continue to put pressure on members in Congress to finally do something about this gun issue. Normally when there is a shooting, everyone feels bad about it and they say something should be done to prevent it. The problem is that when Congress tries to fix it, there are disagreements because the new rules are going to far, and eventually its not talked about anymore. This has happened for so long because there was no one applying pressure to make sure something gets done. This time is different. These students have noticed this issue as well and because they experienced a tragedy like this, they want to put a stop to it. They want all schools to be safe and they don’t want anyone or any school to ever go through something like this ever again.
    One of the ways these students are making their voices heard is through the “March For Our Lives” demonstration. This is when thousands of people will be at Washington D.C as a call for the government to pass legislation for gun safety. There have also been walkouts where students will leave school to honor the victims in the shooting. There have been issues with this because students were being disciplined for what they were arguing was their free speech. Most schools weren’t against the students’ message, but they didn’t like that they were missing school. Some students were being suspended or they were in detention. That being said, there were schools who encouraged the students to walkout, and even teachers joined them as well. There are more walkouts and demonstrations planned for the future and this will continue to keep the students’ message relevant.

  30. The First Amendment of the United States Constitution gives all people the ability to protest and speak freely. The goal of this amendment by the founders is to help democracy thrive in a society. In today’s age, we see that free speech has been a closely held ideal among American society. All speech is protected by the First Amendment against actions by the government. Students who choose to be activists and walk out of school in support or in spite of gun control must realize their rights and what schools can and cannot do. Public schools are extensions of the government via the Board of Education, which means that they must follow constitutional law. There is no instance where a school can limit speech when speech disrupts school activities then the school has the ability to squash the protest. The students must understand and identify the fine line between disruption and protest appropriately. In some districts, schools have attempted to silence students with suspensions and detentions if they walk out. There are 2 different problems with this approach by the school. The first is that it may be unconstitutional in some instances if students do not disturb school then it is not necessary to punishment. The second and probably the more troublesome is the fact that the schools are focused on the walkout rather than the subject matter. It is something that is repeated in history and even more so in recent years. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement was belittled to the point where many have lost faith and the strength to go on and so the movement died off. I hope that the same thing doesn’t happen with the current movement so that real change can be affected and not just politicians promising and not delivering. Hopefully, the same thing does not happen to this movement as it did to the BLM.

  31. I know many schools across the country participated in the walk out to protest against school shootings. My high school that my brother attends participated, but there are things that I just do not understand. The concept is great because there recently has been a lot of school shootings and they need to end. However, what were to happen if some crazy person was waiting outside of the school during the walk out and tried to shoot at the students who walked out? I know that my high school promoted the walk out on social media accounts that were not private. So anyone could of known what was going on and could of planned to shoot at the students who were walking out.
    Another thing I do not understand is why they were walking out of the schools. The schools have nothing to do with school shootings and walking out is like protesting against the school, which makes no sense. I do know however, that some kids at my old high school only participated because it meant that they did not have to be in class. This is the problem now a days many students do not feel the need to be going to school because they believe that school is pointless. I just feel like the idea was great to protest against gun violence in schools, but the way people went about it was not as efficient as it could of been.

  32. These walk outs are a symbol to show that students WANT to feel safe in school. Noone should have to fear for their life to go to school, that they have to attend. This video attached to this article did a fantastic job informing students their rights. I heard that schools were”managing” these walkouts. I heard that some schools have punished kids for walking out and punished for not walking out. Choosing to walk out is a right, not choosing to walk out is also their right. Our students now are the future. We have the power to change minds, we have the power to change the world, we have the power to get people’s attention. This is a issue that needs to be dealt with and what a better time than now.
    Why are we at this point in history? Why do we as students, teachers, and faculty not feel safe in schools? The first school shooting in the United States after the constitution was made was in Charlottesville, Virginia 1840. At the University of Virginia, a student killed their law professor. The latest school shooting was in Great Mills, Maryland 2018 . At Great Mills High School a male student open fired in the school, killed a female student and injured a male student. It has been 170 years. In between these two incidences. Gun control has always been a main topic for politics, but no one has made an impact with this issue. There are over 300 plus recorded shootings at schools and colleges. Most have no deaths and injuries however they still are devastating. We remember such shootings like Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, and more recently Parkland.
    We have the right by our second amendment to bear arms. I believe in that amendment. I DON’T believe we have the right to semi automatic assault rifles. I do not believe stores like Walmart and Dicks sporting goods should sell weapons like that. I do not believe CHILDREN should be able to buy such weapons. Those brave young adults from Parkland are making a movement. These shootings have to stop, plain and simple. I believe in gun control. I don’t want my children to be scared to go to school, I don’t want to hear about children being killed anymore. This video is a great way to give information to students. I watched the march on Washington on March 24th. One of the young ladys from Parkland had a powerful speech were she didn’t speak for 6 minutes and 20 seconds. 6 minutes and 20 seconds she said that it took the shooter to come into the school, kill so many people, dispose of the rifle and blend in with the other students. That’s powerful.

  33. The youth of America is calling but is anyone listening? Right now the youth of America is standing up for their own protect in schools. A million students, from all ages and backgrounds, marched out of school to protest the injustices that been going on in these schools. This is a remarkable act by the Children of America. They are calling out neglectful politicians and leaders of America for letting these injustices happen. Schools shooting have become normalized after a steady rise over the past decade and little actions have been implemented to reduce these numbers. Students are outraged with the progress of our government and decided to take action. Schools all over the nation planned walkouts to protest gun violence and the complacency of the government and gun laws. They protested the school shooting epidemics that were deemed not important as other issues in America. Signs, banners and speeches were made outside of schools everywhere. A moment of silence was held to remember and embraces those who undeservedly lost their lives to implementing their birthright to education. The children are protesting to have their voices heard and this movement is a big stage to hear their thoughts.
    This first united protest of the youth of America in a long time. But this movement has not been a simple joyride for these students. They face scrutiny from School administration, government officials and death threats from ordinary citizens. One School in Texas sent out a letter to all parents saying “Should students choose to do so (Protest), they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension. Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it is positive or negative. We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved.” Students are already facing scrutiny for trying to assume the responsibility of their own protection. The school views this as a front to disturb education and skip classes. That point of view is not accurate if the schools actually considered what the students are protesting against. This protest the lives of the 17 people killed at in Florida and press lawmakers to pass stricter gun control laws. Students have provided a clear motive and objective to the protest which nullifies the argument of student ditching schools.
    Other schools have tried several methods of deescalating the protests but with no success. Student are putting a united from for an issue which should have been the focus for our government.

  34. There is nothing more American than protesting. The right to protest is a duty when the government fails its people. Mass school shootings like the one in Parkland Florida have been going on for a long time. Since Columbine there has been an ongoing pattern of disbelief and outrage after each shooting followed by apathetic silence from the government before another shooting occurs. The shooting in Parkland has somehow broken the cycle of sadness outrage, and students are now taking to the streets to protest the government’s lack of action. Listening to these students is inspiring and equally heartbreaking. The weight of their safety should not have to fall on their own shoulders, and yet students are stepping up to make a difference when those in power failed them. When walking out of school to protest many students fear repercussions such as suspensions or not being able to get into the colleges of their choice. In response various colleges have sent out letters letting students know that protesting will not negatively impact their chances of getting in, and many schools have helped students organize their walkouts. These actions from institutions can be considered progressive and are meant to ease students’ worries, but students must also realize that if they truly care about a cause they should protest regardless of what institutions, politicians, or companies do. Knowing that students in public institutions cannot be more harshly punished because of their views should empower students and help them better plan how to protest. Having this information should help students avoid suspension or detention because of silly reasons such as breaking the dress code when trying to highlight their position.

  35. The student led responses to the Parkland shooting have been nothing short of inspiring. Young people’s voices have been behind some of the most impactful political movements in our nation’s history, and it is fitting that they lead the anti-being shot in school movement. Also sticking with a consistent historical precedent, those in power have done their best to silence and/or ignore these voices. Despite the volume of the March for Our Lives and the planned high school walkouts throughout the country legislators have responded with silence, and schools across the country responded by restricting the freedoms of their students.
    As this page from the ACLU points out, students do not have the same first amendment rights in school as they do outside of it. Court precedent set in Tinker v Des Moines (1969) ( determined that political statements or any first amendment expression could not be suppressed by the school unless it would “materially and substantially interfere” with the operation of the school. The decision in Morse v Fredrick (2007) ( established that pro drug messages could not be displayed in school, but Justice Alito emphasized that the ruling applied only to drugs and not political statements. The Tinker decision would imply that schools have the right to stop a protest that disrupts the school day, but I think this is a dangerous precedent that should be re-examined. Both the Tinker and Morse decisions affirm that political expression cannot be squashed by definition in schools, but if organized events like the walkouts a few weeks ago can be forcibly stopped, I believe that students are being denied their freedoms.
    The actions taken by my high school alma mater in response to the walkouts truly disgusted me when I heard of them. When students left classrooms to assemble in the parking lot outside the school, they were shocked to find armed police officers blockading every exit from the school. The school instead, decided to hold students in the hallways and play Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” over the loudspeaker before a moment of silence that was interrupted by the Superintendent attempting to start the wave amongst the students for the district Twitter page. Disrespect to the victims aside, the major concern to me in this instance is that the school barricaded the doors so that students could not leave. As a result of the increase in school shootings across the nation, a concerning number of people of advocated for essentially turning schools into prisons. “The teachers should be armed” and “there should be metal detectors”. “Make them wear clear backpacks” and “post armed guards at the doors”. Despite the hyperbole of some unhappy students, schools are not prisons. The more we strip away the right to free speech from students and liken their environment to that of penitentiary, the more they will start to feel like true prisoners. I cannot imagine our education system ever improving if it becomes merely an extension of the prison industrial complex.

  36. This article by the American Civil Liberties Union offers any student many hints as to what he/she can do in any kind of protest. It was written as a response to the recent school shootings and the resultant student protests all over the country. There are many ideas offered as to what a student can legally accomplish by joining groups and protesting things like bump stocks, high capacity weapons, age for buying weapons, and background checks. They should know their schools’ attendance policies and understand that they do not have carte blanche to protest in any manner they please. Recently, in Philadelphia, a principal of a school was fired and the students and parents held many sit-ins and attended board meetings. This weekend the principal was reinstated. What helped was number of people involved and the peaceful protests that got media attention. But students also need to be careful that they understand the rules of their particular school system. The school records can be sent to colleges or employers and this could have lasting effects on a student’s future. So the right to free speech does have deterrents.
    That said, protests throughout this country for whatever reason often get violent and destructive. The protests like this should be dealt with. People who destroy their own neighborhoods harm and those who live in them should not be excused, no matter how correct their reasoning is. They lose their own credibility by alienating others who might sympathize with their cause. Students who are having a good time when a sports team is victorious have no right to turn over cars and tear down light poles.
    All of these protests are done in the cause of change. The students who want more gun control did a wonderful thing, but what good did it do? The powerful lobby and politicians, including the Secretary of Education are just “looking into it” and everyone knows who much good that will do.

  37. This article was very eye opening and I believe that it should be read by students across the country. With school shootings unfortunately becoming part of the news what seems every week now, the push for stricter gun laws and change in this country is now stronger than ever. Students across the country have not only organized to walk out from schools, but they have also organized large marches in the biggest cities in the United States such as New York City and Washington D.C. These protests are proving to be very strong, the only thing that could weaken them is a lack of support.
    While support is already strong, it could be stronger. Many students likely fear speaking out or fear participating in these events because they do not want to get in trouble with the law or their schools. Many fear they will be arrested or suspended from schools if they act on their beliefs. What students need to realize is that this is not the case. As long as people act on their beliefs in a non-violent and non-disruptive manner, they are protected under the First Amendment. Sure they may be disciplined if they decide to skip class, but students cannot be punished any more for a walkout than they would for skipping class on a normal day. Also, they are protected to speak their minds on social media, as long as whatever they say is not about the school. As far as outside of school goes, students have nothing to worry about. The schools cannot punish them for anything they do outside of school. Therefore, as long as they organize and protest in a non-violent manner, they are protected under the first amendment.
    I believe that all students should know their rights. It is our generation that is responsible for the future of this country. If we want legitimate change to be made, we need people from all over to be active and participate in this push for a safer America. If more students understand their rights, then more people will participate in these protests. Hopefully, change will be brought to this country resulting in stricter gun laws and safer schools.

  38. The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida marked the day students in America finally stepped up to begin using their voices for change. Since the tragic Columbine School shooting in 1999 there have been twenty-five fatal school shootings in our country. That number equates to more than one school affected by gun violence a year and it’s about time students advocate for a different system.
    Being a young adolescent student growing up in a fast paced world makes it difficult to find courage to speak up and be heard. What makes it even more difficult aspect is knowing the rules and laws in place to protect you along the way. Looking back on my parent’s generation during the Vietnam War and “duck and cover” drills were a regular thing. They quickly realized that their way of living was poisonous and easily found strength to protest. The biggest difference between these two generations is that the era we live in is extremely sheltered. People believe that a school shooting will never happen to them and what they hear on the media takes place at a location far away from them. “Millennials” and “Gen Xers” live in a time where information is quickly spread and easily accessed but still it seems hard to get a movement going.
    I commend these students for standing up for what they believe in and advocating for change when they seem to have the odds stacked against them. There will always be authority figures that will stand in their way and attempt to block their push. The strongest power is knowledge; knowledge on freedom of speech will be the difference.

  39. Safety in schools has been a heavily discussed topic recently. This increased discussion is due to the rising issue of school shootings. As terrible as they are, schools need to take charge and fix the issue. Schools tend to have security guards, some of which are not real protectors. They are not prepared to take control in a high level of danger. The newest idea is to potentially have police officers in all schools. That would be a good idea, however the cost of hiring more officers would be an issue. Another idea that has been thrown around is having veterans in schools. When veterans return home from serving our country, they are often in need of work. Giving people who are well trained and experienced seems like a great idea. However, the potential of veterans struggling to cope with reality is a cause for concern. It is common for returning soldiers to suffer from PTSD.

    Today, students are wondering what they can do. Many schools are having walk-outs in protest of the lack of protection for students. This is perfectly legal. This article discusses the rights a student has regarding speech, walkouts, and other things. However, it has to be a united front. All the students need to participate to get the message across. To make a difference, they all need to work together and make their voices heard.

    As a student today, it is horrifying to think that it could happen to my school, but the truth is that it can. I would love for protection to be at my school. On a college campus, it is a very high volume area to target. Whether classrooms have safe rooms, doors that lock from the inside, or other forms of safety would certainly ease the mind of students. After all, these kids are the future of our country, and they risk never achieving their potential.

  40. In the past few weeks, students all over the country have been pushing for changes in national gun laws. After the horrendous shooting of a high school in Parkland, Florida has sparked a public outcry for a reform of the process taken to obtain a powerful weapon like the one used in this shooting, as well as the repeal of automatic weapon sales all together. Students have planned walkouts that have made the news on a national scale. Through these walkouts, they are exercising their first amendment right to freedom of speech through the right to protest. While the acts are constitutional, schools have been disciplining teens for these said walkouts.

    While first amendment rights are protected under the Constitution for students, schools do still have the right to discipline students for walking out and missing classes. While this is true, schools cannot enact punishment more harshly because of the political message for change behind the students’ action. I think that this is ethically wrong for schools to do. While some may say that students might use this opportunity to just miss class for a day, schools cannot just assume that all students absent are being insubordinate by missing class. These students have a legitimate claim to request for change with all of the school shootings that have occurred in the past five years. Students are the ones potentially risking their lives while being in class without reforming gun laws. Students of all ages are citizens too! Students deserve to be able to learn in class in a healthy, safe environment, free of any distractions or harm.

    Teachers and students alike should have a say in the gun law reform process. It has been in the news that government officials are considering arming teachers to aid in the prevention of school shootings. This, to me, does not make much sense to me. To eliminate school shootings, we put MORE guns in the schools? In my eyes, this is irony at it’s finest. First of all, teachers need to be properly trained in handling weapons; something that takes time to achieve. Also, teachers are already not getting paid well for their time in the classroom. Now they’ll have to spend more time and expenses for this needed training. This mechanic paired with the morality and ethical issues that arming teachers shows how lofty of a solution this really is. Getting involved in societal change is exactly what the students are aiming to do. By protesting peacefully and in large quantities, the issue was readdressed. With other countries like Japan having such a low murder rate from their gun sales, maybe the U.S. can look to implement more guidelines based on the Japanese purchase procedure and implementing them in a way that Americans find feasible as well. Saying that repealing all gun rights in our country is not the main issue I’m trying to get across, there is an immediate need for change in the process that law-abiding citizens take to purchase these weapons that can lead to these horrific incidents such as the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

  41. The march for our lives movement has expanded across cities in America and includes protesters from every age group. Unlike any other movement, students have driven the march and are demanding changes in gun legislation. Since the movement is student based, it is important for students to educate themselves on what their rights are. Furthermore, I think if students are unaware of their rights that it could lead to many students being intimidated by their school districts and afraid of speaking out. However, students have just as many rights as adults and are able to peacefully participate in protests. Many schools are restricting their students’ rights by threatening them with punishments, like detention, for missing school to protest. According to ACLU, schools are able to punish students if they participate in a walkout because the majority of states hold laws that allow schools to discipline students who miss class. One way for students to protect themselves from disciplinary action would be to have their parents or guardians call them out for the duration of the walkout. Although, I can understand someone thinking that the impact would be lesser. At my former high school, administers worked with the students to coordinate the walkout, which many attended.
    I was surprised to learn that schools are unable to punish students for social media posts because I always thought that schools would have jurisdiction. ACLU states that as long as the social media content posted is not on school property and outside of school time, students are safe from discipline. However, some court cases have contradicted the student’s rights in the past and have allowed schools to punish students. For instance, when I was a sophomore in high school a classmate of mine posted an illegal substance as their snapchat story and received disciplinary action by the school.
    The ACLU’s video also speaks about the rights students have in regards to their speech, dress code, and actions in school; relaying that schools are unable to censor students if they are not being disruptive. How is disruption defined? Schools and students are going to have different perspectives and opinions on what is considered being disruptive in a school setting. Furthermore, I found it interesting that the video raised a point reminding school administers that even though they may have the power to discipline their students that they do not need to. The video goes on to say that schools are not only in charge of teaching their students about academic subject matter, but also about citizenship in the United States. On one hand, schools are hypocritical if they punish students for protesting because throughout years of learning students are taught in history class about nonviolent protests. For example, Martin Luther King is one of the most prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement and is taught throughout the country and is even celebrated on January 21st , a day pronounced Martin Luther King day. From the time that students are little to the end of high school, schools teach them that one person can make a change. How can that one person make a change if they are being censored and disciplined for speaking up against for what they feel is wrong?

  42. It is essential that every single student knows what to do in a situation like this. Although the Florida incident was very heartbreaking, students learned from it. They learned what to do and they voiced their opinions. No one wants to think this can happen to them, but bad times do not come saying they’re coming, they just come when they want. School shootings have been occurring way more frequently than they once did, so it is important that this article and articles like these are read by students. It is not just about speaking up and voicing their opinions, it’s more about doing what will keep them safe. At this point it is just important to make students aware that this can happen and what they need to do just in case they are in an unsafe situation.

    I agree with Michael about how frightening it is to think that this could happen in my own school. Shootings can happen anywhere and at any time. He also mentions how a college campus is a “high volume” area to target and I agree with that as well. College campuses also need security all the time. High schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and colleges all need security and need to learn what to do in certain situations. Although nobody wants to think this could happen to them, it can.

  43. We are seeing monumental changes happening right before our eyes, or so I hope. Although the Parkland shooting was just over two months ago, the climate in our country surrounding guns has not died down. Just recently, we passed the 19 year anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting, which sparked remembrance of the debate once again. This article, which informs students of their constitutional rights regarding free speech in schools, sheds some much needed light on protests which can and should happen.

    I am incredibly impressed with the Parkland students and their desire to take the bull by the horns and settle this issue once and for all. Regardless of one’s views on gun control, we can all admire the fire the students have in their hearts by pushing for change. We hear often about how the Millennials and the Gen Zers are unequipped to handle life in terms of toughness, motivation and empathy. But, these high school students at Parkland are defying all expectations of our generation by leading nationwide protests, walkouts, speeches and the like to fight for a cause they believe in. That in and of itself is admirable.

    Even though the Parkland students organizing this massive call for change is impressive and admirable, I am skeptical that any change will happen, unfortunately. The NRA is simply too powerful. They have such a commanding presence in The Capitol that any change that comes from this will be incredibly hard to implement effectively. Whenever there is a mass shooting, the lawmakers shed a few tears, make a few visits to the families affected, and vow for change. Next thing you know, a few weeks later, talk dies down, and the lawmakers do absolute nothing to bring about the change they promised. Once Congress decided that a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a majority of the lives lost were children between the ages of six and seven, was bearable, any chance of a gun control debate bringing about change was lost. Politicians have to be empathetic, and they must act on their promises of change. But until that change comes, an article which outlines students’ rights to protest in schools is so important for us students to read. A positive sign of the Parkland shooting, however, is that talk has not died down after a few weeks, like with the other mass shootings. If we want change to actually occur, it has to be a consistent, ongoing fight.

  44. To be frank, I completely disagree with the fact that students are being penalized for their participation in social protests and missing a few classes for them. Our education system is the backbone of development for our children, and discouraging them from participating in social movements that they believe in is hindering them from fighting for their rights in the future. It seems odd to me personally that educators are still willing to penalize students for their participating in protests because after all, our country and all of our rights were formed from protest, even those that have to do with education (like Brown vs. The BOE). It is important, yes, that children go to school and that they receive a quality education. However, when huge social protests come along once in a while (like the one after the Florida shooting on February 14, 2018), I think it is crucial to allow students to participate in social reform and allow them to voice their own opinions. The younger generation is what will one day be leading our country and I think it is absolutely imperative to encourage them to speak up and refuse to be silenced. The moment we allow our children to be silenced in society is the moment that the United States of America stops being a democracy. With all political opinions aside, protest is still one of our few effective tools that remains as a society. Our 1st amendment rights allow us to fuel political campaigns, make governmental decisions, and ultimately decide between right and wrong on a societal basis.

    I think that students should not be penalized for missing class for participating in a proper, professional, organized protest, however, I do think that they still need to keep up with their work and make a strong effort to continue to show up and receive an education. I do not think that just because a student misses class for a protest that they should be given detention or given extra work, because this is, in the simplest form, punishing them for standing up for their beliefs. And if this was in any other environment besides our education system, people would be absolutely outraged. To hold people back from speaking their minds or to hold it over their heads as an ultimatum is not only wrong, but some could argue that it is manipulative and discriminatory. I strongly believe that we need to teach our children from an early age that it is healthy to establish their own belief system, regardless of whether or not it is the same as our own. After all, the differences among us tend to unite us in times of despair, and can actually bring more solutions to the table. Denying students the right to make up work they missed due to attending a protest is repulsive to me. I understand that educators take pride in their occupation and the education that they give children, but at the end of the day, denying opportunity to someone for exercising their 1st amendment rights is wrong, discriminatory, and selfish. Many people may disagree with me, however I strongly believe that a social understanding of what is happening in the world around us is just as important, if not more important, than an academic education. It fuels our understanding of this world and it allows for us to make decisions based on our values, not just a statistic. This world is grey – not black and white, and definitely not paint-by-number.

  45. In this day and age, there have been so many controversial things going on throughout the country that cause walk out. For example, let’s take gun violence and how it has become such a regular thing that we hear about on the news. There has been many mass shooting and school shootings that have called for student all across the country to take a stand and organize a walk out to make sure people hear their voices. This article was beneficial in the sense that through your school has ruled there are ways to get around them. They speak about how hats but not specific things such as make American great again shirts or LGBT shirts. They generalize rules to situations such as dress codes but are not able to prevent you from wearing shirts that send a message or support your opinion on certain things. It then goes in to speak about walk out and how you are able to participate in them but once you start skipping classes and such you will be punished, in the same manner as someone who had just skipped school not specifically for the walkout. In being punished, you are not supposed to be punished more harshly for what you are protesting. In creating walkouts and what not, you are able to exercise your first amendment right as long as you are still following your school/state rule. One thing that this article says that I find questionable is “your school cannot punish you for content you post of campus… that does not relate to school”. As a collegiate athlete, this does not apply to me. Whatever I post on any sort of social media is monitored and able to be subject for punishment. When going on my profile for any social media, it says nothing about what school I go to nor what sport I play. In my opinion, I do not feel that I should be punished for voicing my opinion on social media since I am not technically affiliated with the school. The article then goes on to state the “some schools have attempted to extend their power to punish students even for off-campus, online post,” which should not be allowed. Now more than ever what the people have to say needs to be heard, whether online or not. To be punished for your opinion is wrong and as a collegiate athlete what we express is definitely held to a higher standard. There is no reason why students should be punished for voicing their opinions.

  46. I, along with many other students, are tired of hearing about school shootings happening across the nation. School is supposed to serve as a safe zone, a place to go to get an education and plan for the future. Students should not have to sit in class in fear of a gun-related attack happening to them. Student-led walkouts are becoming more popular around not only gun violence, but the black lives matter movement, and the #metoo movement. It’s especially popular among high school students who still don’t have the right to vote, so it’s their way of expressing their views to the public. The younger generation is the future of the country, so I think that when students speak out and practice their rights it gives us hope for the future. Walkouts are also an opportunity to bring students together to fight for something that seems to be a big issue in society that they cannot control themselves because adults have the duty of handling these problems. I think it is important for students to know their boundaries if they are participating in a walkout or protest. Keeping it peaceful and not violating any laws or school boundaries is important because if the school code is broken, they have the opportunity to step in and intervene. As far as getting punished for leaving class, it would be naïve for teachers to do so. As the future of our nation students should be allowed to express their constitutional rights and fight for what they believe in without being worried about getting punished for doing so. The controversy that surrounds these nationwide walkouts is a huge step in the right direction for the future of our country. Similar to mass shootings such as Parkland and Sandy Hook, other first world countries also face similar problems. The difference between the United States and other countries is that other countries take immediate action and make a change in gun control laws. They often experience a significant decrease in mass shootings throughout the country because the actions of the public and students who sparked outrage and signed petitions to enforce stricter gun control are the ultimate reasoning behind this change. The United States, on the other hand, tolerates what is happening and refuses to make a change due to the divide in political parties.

  47. This article does a good job of explaining the rights that students have. Every student should read this article because a lot of times, students do not know what rights they actually have. No matter whether you are in school or out, every single person has the same rights under the Constitution. As the article mentions, a school is not allowed to punish you for expressing your views. Unfortunately, many school districts do prevent students from expressing their views. Last year, many schools in my area did a school-wide walkout as a protest of the Parkland shooting. In some school districts, anyone who walked out got suspended or detention. In my opinion, this is not fair because it was to raise awareness of an unfortunate epidemic going on. In my own high school district, we all wore red and sat in protest before classes in order to support our non-tenyard teachers. All of these protests are for good causes. Across the nation, many are protesting are expressing their voices for causes that matter. For school matters, the biggest protests going on involve school shootings. Teachers and principals should see the seriousness in the matter and join in on these protests instead of punishing students for spreading awareness. Limiting students’ voices only makes them want to speak out more. We as a nation should be standing together as one to make awareness of these serious matters.

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