Don’t Punish Students for Participating in Democracy!

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Across the United States, high school students are walking out of their schools, and in some cases marching on state capitals, demanding legislators take action on gun control. These historic protests come as a direct response to a horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 people dead.

Defending Rights & Dissent supports the right of political expression as being essential to democracy.

Unfortunately, some schools have opted to try to intimidate students into not protesting or retaliate against those that do. While some schools are merely treating students who walk out as having an unexcused absence, a Texas school district is reportedly threatening any student who walks out with a three day suspension–even if they have a note from a guardian approving of their absence.

This is simply unacceptable.  Public schools serve the function of empowering young people to become engaged participants in our democracy. Students participating in walk outs and rallies are acting as exemplary global citizens. School administrators should therefore be applauding the actions of their students, not seeking to silence them.