CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 1,000 students in west suburban Downers Grove were given detention this week, after they walked out of school to join the National School Walkout demonstration against gun violence.
Downers Grove Community High School District 99 Supt. Hank Thiele said 1,100 students took part in Wednesday’s protest, which sought to convince lawmakers to enact stricter gun control laws in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Thiele said the students told the district they consider the detention a “badge of honor” that symbolizes they were standing up for their rights, and committed enough to accept consequences for leaving class.
“If you read their accounts in the school newspaper, you will see our students take great pride in standing up for what they believe in. Many feel that a detention for leaving class is a small price to exercise their rights and draw attention to their cause. When several of our student leaders heard that some schools were not assigning consequences, they shared with administration they didn’t feel this was a good idea. Students believed that in order to be taken seriously, they should show they are committed enough to receive a consequence,” Thiele said in an email to CBS 2.
District 99 was not the only local school district that planned to discipline students who walked out of class on Wednesday.
In Hinsdale, Township High School District 86 officials also told students they would be punished on a case-by-case basis for leaving school. The district said, while it encourages students to express their political views, it must keep students safe, and cannot give them permission to walk out of class.
Hundreds of Hinsdale high school students joined the National School Walkout. The district has not said how many students took part in the protest, or what punishment they were given. The district had previously said disciplinary action would be based on each students’ behavior on Wednesday, as well as their past school record.