Texas school district threatens suspension for student protests; universities respond, ‘peaceful protests won’t impact admissions’

Individual admissions officials took to Twitter to let students know that joining such demonstrations wouldn't "affect their college acceptance decisions."

Image Credit: Common Dreams

While a nationwide school walkout is planned for March 14, students in Texas could face suspended if they decide to join this or any protests against gun violence.

One superintendent in Needville Independent School District located in Fort Bend County, right outside Houston, sent a letter to families whose children attend this district’s schools warning them that students who partake in any protests against gun violence and gun laws will be suspended for three days, according to The Houston Chronicle.

Following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida more than two weeks ago, which left 17 people dead, many students nationwide have walked out of school in a show of solidarity and initiate a call to action.

But Superintendent Curtis Rhodes said in a statement that while the Needville Independent School District is “very sensitive” to “violence in schools,” it will punish students who decide to join protests and demonstrations during school hours. According to The Hill, Rhodes believes “school is a place to learn and grow ‘educationally, emotionally and morally'” and therefore, will not “tolerate disruptions.”

“Please be advised that the Needville ISD will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!!” Rhodes said. “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. 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.”

While Rhodes is planning on punishing students protesting gun violence, many universities showed support to applicants in high school who are participating in peaceful protests. Individual admissions officials took to Twitter to let students know that joining such demonstrations wouldn’t “affect their college acceptance decisions,” according to Huffington Post.

“We always encourage students to undertake whatever course of action in life is most meaningful to, and consistent with, their own principles, and not prioritize how it might impact their college applications,” Stu Schmill, the dean of admissions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said.

Other universities also tweeted their support:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas tweeted a reminder to Rhodes last week that “school administrators are barred from censoring political speech and that punishing students ‘more harshly’ for protesting is illegal,” according to Huffington Post.

The ACLU protects the rights of protesters. For more information, please visit ACLU’s website and #KnowYourRights.


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