With the March For Our Lives and other student walk outs planned in coming weeks, there are two ways for Arizona school districts to respond to this student-led protest movement.
I suggested that “the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and our 15 County Recorder’s offices, along with voter registration organizations such as the League of Women Voters and many others, could coordinate with Arizona’s school districts to make voter registration tables available at every Arizona high school for seniors participating in these extraordinary events to register to vote. High school civics teachers should see this as a golden opportunity to teach their students about civics.” Register high school students to vote at March for Our Lives and #NeverAgain events.
My suggestion is similar to the view expressed by the ACLU of New Jersey in an open letter (PDF) to New Jersey school administrators, educators, and government officials concerning the rights of students to express themselves politically, in school and out. ACLU-NJ OPEN LETTER ON STUDENT WALKOUTS AND SPEECH TO EDUCATORS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND OFFICIALS: “A student movement has arisen in response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland last month, and young New Jerseyans are raising their voices here. The ACLU of New Jersey asks you to support student efforts to engage in the issues of the day and encourage a spirit of civic participation in the various forms it may take.”
It would be great if our political leaders were proactive in their support of political engagement and participation by our high school students.
But I also warned you that “There are more likely to be partisan school boards that will not permit their students to participate in these walkouts — First Amendment rights be damned …” This has now occurred in Arizona. School suspends students after walkout over gun violence:
Dozens of students at a Phoenix-area middle school were suspended for leaving campus during a walkout to protest gun violence and to support victims of the Florida school shooting.
More than 100 students from Ingleside Middle School participated in the Tuesday protest, which lasted 17 minutes — a minute for each person killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.