Leaving School is Not a First Amendment Right

Parson's Thoughts on the School Walkout

Parson Covington, Contributor

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In wake of the recent school shootings across the country, student activists have planned and organized national school walkouts, attempting to demand government action on gun laws.

The first of these walkouts was held on March 14, where many students across the nation walked out of school at 10 a.m. and participated in a moment of silence for the victims lost at the Parkland Florida School Shooting in hopes of the government taking action, such as “banning assault weapons” according to CNN.

Another national school walkout that has come to attention is being scheduled for April 20: the 19th anniversary of the infamous Columbine school shooting.

Students planning to participate in this walkout need to remember that walking out is skipping, not your right to protest.

A commonly held belief is that students have the same first amendment right to protest as any US citizen. While yes, this is true, this does not apply when it comes to students skipping school: something they are legally obligated to attend.

Students in Glenwood were granted permission for the walkout on March 14 but are now being denied permission for the second. Students who choose to exit class and attend the walkout will be punished accordingly, as they should be.

Our school has the responsibility to teach students, and this cannot be done if the school allows students to leave the building without punishment. Allowing students to leave the building opens up the door for students to skip at any time they wish and expect no punishment.

On top of the lost time, it has also been determined by our administration that March 14’s walkout caused a substantial disruption in the classroom. Not only are the students walking disrupting their own learning, they are causing a disruption within the building as well.

I applaud our school district for upholding their responsibility of providing a proper learning environment for its students.

If you are planning to walk on April 20, save your opinion for another time.