CHICAGO (CBS) — In one week, students across the country are planning to walk out of their schools to draw attention to the cause of stricter gun control, particularly in regard to greater school safety.
While many parents are supporting their children, some school administrators are deciding what discipline to hand down if their kids leave class.
Two mothers in the Hinsdale school district, for example, are applauding students’ activism.
“They’re really engaged,” Andre Thome said.
Catherine Greenspon adding, “It gives me hope in our nation and our future generations because these children are inspired, and they’re using their voice.”
However, if students at Hinsdale Central High School join their peers across the nation and walk out of school next Wednesday to protest, they might be punished.
In a letter to parents, the two Hinsdale high school principals and the district superintendent wrote: “Discipline would be case-by-case and depend on what happened.”
Greenspan and Thome insist there should be no punishment for the brief demonstrations.
“They need to have the ability to express whether they choose to participate in the peaceful protest or not,” Greenspon said. “They need to be able to make that choice.”
Students have already walked out of schools in the Chicago area to protest, but some districts site students safety for opposing walkouts.
In Plainfield, for example, administrators say they have to protect 9,500 students.
“We truly believe our students will be safer inside the schools… with alternative plans that will allow students to have a voice and engage in this protest in a meaningful way,” a district spokesman said.
Barrington officials said students who leave will be marked absent, and will therefore have to make up their missed school work.
“They leave the school grounds for fire drills. We have lockout drills. They go outside and watch the solar eclipse. So why not go outside — it’s 17 minutes we’re talking about. We’re talking about one minute to mark 17 lost lives,” Thome said.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said educators, along with students, will decide how they want to protest in Chicago, adding that the district will support them.
Organizers behind the Women’s March are assisting the students, and together have called for the 17-minute walkout on March 14 to “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”