A Houston-area school district is threatening to suspend students who participate in a pro-gun control walkout following last week’s mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Curtis Rhodes, superintendent of the Needville Independent School District, announced Tuesday that any student who participates in the nationwide demonstrations during school hours would face an automatic, three-day suspension.
“There is a ‘movement’ attempting to stage walkouts/disruptions of the school through social media and/or other media outlets,” Mr. Rhodes said in a statement posted on Facebook. “Please be advised that the Needville ISD will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!! Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out of school suspension.”
Students calling for stricter gun laws have organized protests and walkouts across the country after a 19-year-old gunman fatally shot 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day.
A “March for our Lives” is planned for March 24 in D.C. Others include a March 14 school walkout organized by the Women’s March, along with the April 20 National High School Walkout on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine shootings, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Mr. Rhodes’ statement said the school is no place for a political protest.
“Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative,” he said. “We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved. All will be suspended for 3 days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline. A school is a place to learn and grow educationally, emotionally and morally. A disruption of the school will not be tolerated. Respect yourself, your fellow students and the Needville Independent School District and please understand that we are here for an education and not a political protest.”
Comments on social media criticized the superintendent for stifling students’ freedom of speech.
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