While more than 30 South Florida schools walked out to protest America’s gun laws on Wednesday, one Florida school district was not prepared to let its students do the same.
The Levy County School board said that they would expel students who participated in the National Student Walkout on Wednesday.
The statement came in a Facebook post made on the official school board page.
“While students have a first amendment right of freedom of speech it cannot be done so in a manner that is disruptive to the school environment,” The official school board communication said. “We cannot have students just leaving campus without the proper checkout procedures being followed.”
Thousands of students in South Florida walked out from their schools to protest what they perceive as America’s weak gun laws.
In some cases in South Florida, schools let their students out early to facilitate their right to protest.
The Coral Springs Police Department even deployed officers to keep students safe while protesting near busy streets.
For Coral Springs students participating in the walkout, please stay on Sample Rd. and Coral Springs Dr. We have personnel on those roads to ensure your safety. Motorists, please proceed with caution or avoid those areas. Walkout is scheduled to begin at noon.
— Coral Springs Police (@CoralSpringsPD) February 21, 2018
The walk out movement has sprung up in the aftermath of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last week.
Despite an incredible upswing in youth activism since the shooting, the Levy County School Board seems unmoved.
The Miami Monster called the Levy County School Board for comment but no one was available to speak to us in an official capacity.
The person who answered the phone said that students would be able to participate in a walkout, but only if a parent signed them out of school to do so.
“We do encourage supporting keeping our schools and campuses safe and encourage students to make their voices heard to policy makers,” The statement on the Facebook page reads. “I encourage you to encourage them to make sure that their opinions and voices are heard in a positive manner.”
The statement then went on to cite the official board policy:
“Any student who participates in a boycott, walkout, sit-in, strike, or any similar
disruptive action which interferes with the orderly operation of the school shall be
deemed guilty of serious misconduct and shall be subject to suspension or
expulsion from school.”
Levy County is located in Northwest Florida and is one of Florida’s smallest and most conservative voting counties.
The School Board oversees 12 schools in total and serves a population of just over 40,000 people.
Over 70% of the county voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
So what do you think? Should students run the risk of being punished for walking out of school to protest America’s gun laws? Tell us in the comments.
Cover Photo Credit: @karlarosario10/ Twitter
This story is from The Miami Monster, a new brand focused on telling the true stories of what life is like for a young person living in South Florida. Be sure to also follow our founder Joel Franco on Twitter to keep up to date with the latest breaking news in the area. You can send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.