Can you be punished for walking out of class? This ACLU fellow wants students to know their rights ahead of the national school walk-out.
“Students are wondering what they can say inside and outside of school, and they’re wondering if they can be punished for walking out or engaging in other kinds of protest.” Vera Eidelman explained.
But she says there are five things students should know ahead of their walkout.
First is that you can’t be punished for your political views. Eidelman stated, “Schools can discipline you for missing class, but they can’t discipline you more harshly because you’re missing that class for a political reason or to express a particular political message.”
Second is that your right to free speech applies in school as long as you’re not disrupting the school’s functioning.
Third is that you can wear political clothing if it adheres to the dress code.
“In school, you can absolutely speak out, wear expressive clothing, hand out flyers, just as long as they’re not disruptive or breaking other neutral rules that the school has.” Eidelman says.
Fourth is that you’re more likely to be legally protected for political action that takes place outside of school.
Fifth is, if you’re facing a 10-day suspension, you can bring legal representation.
Knowing your rights will help keep you safe and protected during peaceful protests, and prevent you from feeling like you need to be silenced.