It used to be called ‘truancy’ but now it’s called ‘activism’.
These kids are leaving class without permission — that’s an unexcused absence.
MyCentralJersey reports that one school district has decided to take disciplinary action against students that participated in the National Walkout Day on March 14.
The Sayreville School District in New Jersey will uphold the rules and consider it a ‘failure to follow administrative direction’ which would result in a suspension.
Students in the Sayreville School District have been told that disciplinary action will be taken against those who walk out.
“We are going to follow our student code of conduct in terms of discipline associated with whatever action occurs,” Sayreville Board of Education President Kevin Ciak said.
If students are informed by the principal that they are prohibited from walking out of school but they do, it would be considered failure to follow administrative direction, which would result in a suspension, Ciak said.
The Sayreville Superintendent of Schools, Richard Labbe, has explained that there are safety reasons why the walkout will not be condoned. He had advised parents and staff in his weekly ‘Talk Sup’ memo that a walkout would not be supported, encouraged, or condoned.
“We are in support of and have always encouraged our students to express themselves and exercise their freedom of speech, so long as it does not cause a major disruption to the school environment and does not put them in danger,” he said.
“Therefore, we believe that allowing and/or supporting them to walk out of our schools on a specific date and at a specific time is not safe and will cause a major disruption to the education of those students, as well as those who wish to remain in class learning.”
Other schools in New Jersey are concerned for student safety.
Bridgewater-Raritan High School also has expressed concerns about student safety.
“Walking out of class does not promote school safety,” Principal Mark Morrell said in a statement. “In fact, it could just the opposite — put students at risk.”
Morrell said the issue was discussed and “student leadership decided that it was important to stand with the national movement.”
To allow the students to ‘stand with the national movement’ and protect students, the district came up with a ‘compromise’ — but isn’t backing down on consequences.
The district has coordinated with Bridgewater police to bring in extra officers to the campus March 14, he said.
“Parents and members of the public will not be allowed in this area and trespassing will not be tolerated,” Morrell said.
He said walkout participants will receive no credit for any work missed, including tests, quizzes and other classwork. In addition, he said, students who miss more than half the class (20 minutes) will be assigned a cut of class as discussed in the student handbook.
Morrell said that “while this will be the procedure in this instance, any future walkout will be immediately met with assignment of a Saturday detention or a day of In-school suspension, a cut of class assigned, a zero for classwork and an absence toward the attendance policy.”
The New York Post reported on one student that participated in the walkout and the repercussions.
The New York Post quotes Sierra Thomas, a Sayreville War Memorial High School student who walked out for gun control. “We met up with about 10 more people,” she said. Reports say Thomas and about 23 others walked out.
Thomas said she was told that she and her fellow protesters would receive a two-day suspension.
Another student participant, Rosa Rodriguez, said, “I don’t care if I get suspended.”
What do you think of the Sayreville, New Jersey school district cracking down on kids that chose to walk out?
by Doug Giles
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