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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Can school OK some protests, but not others?

Some schools authorized students to walk out on March 14 to protest gun violence. Photo: Paul Chinn/San Francisco Chronicle

If a school lets students walk out, without penalty, to protest gun violence, is it obliged to allow walkouts for other issues? What about an anti-abortion protest?  A California high school teacher raised the question in her social studies classes last week, sparking lively discussions. Yesterday, Julianne Benzel was put on paid administrative leave, she told CBS-13 in Sacramento.

A district statement said there were “complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding today’s student-led civic engagement activities.”

Benzel says she never discouraged her students from participating in the national school walk out, but she did question whether it’s appropriate for a school to support a protest against gun violence if they’re not willing to support all protests. . . . “All my students totally understood that there could not be a double standard,” she said.

“I feel like if we were to go to school and say something like I want to walk out maybe for abortion rights, then you know they probably wouldn’t let us because that’s more of a conservative push,” said Nick Wade, who didn’t join the walkout yesterday. “But someone wants to say let’s walk out for gun control then the school’s going to go with it because it’s more of a popular view.”

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