Virginia school system gives students time for protests

“I think we’re setting the stage for the rest of the nation with this.”


One of the largest school districts in the state of Virginia has announced it will allow students one excused absence per year to participate in civic activities. This would including being able to miss school to protest. 

Students in seventh to 12th grade will be given this opportunity which is the first of its kind in the U.S. Experts believe this is a positive way to handle the wave of student activism the nation has seen over the last few years.  

Fairfax County Public Schools in northern Virginia has roughly 188,000 students in their district. It is one of the largest school districts in the United States. 

Students will have to give two days notice before their absence, a parent or guardian must approve, and the student must stop by their campus at least once on the day of their absence to for accreditation purposes. 

“I think we’re setting the stage for the rest of the nation with this. It’s a dawning of a new day in student activism, and school systems everywhere are going to have to be responsive to it,” says Fairfax School Board member Ryan McElveen who introduced the new policy. 

Opponents to the new policy say this decision favors liberal causes and “people who call themselves conservatives probably do still count respecting authority — staying in school — as a crucial and central tenet of the social order” says Thai Jones, a lecturer at Columbia University who studies radical social movements.


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