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Resources for students who choose to march

Stoneman Douglas High School senior Emma Gonzalez, surrounded by classmates and supporters, stands at a podium at a press conference to speak out against gun violence and claims that it can't be prevented
Emm Gonzalez and her fellow survivors call B.S. on the idea that nothing could have prevented the death of their friends.

(I’ll update as more information becomes available.)

In the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, survivors from Stoneman Douglas High School and students across the country are planning a mass walk-out — the March for Our Lives — for Saturday, March 24, to call on legislators to prioritize their lives and safety when they’re passing laws to prevent gun violence. Two other national marches mark one month after the Parkland shooting and the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High massacre.

A lot of students are worried about what might happen to them if they participate in walk-outs and other forms of protest against being murdered in class by people carrying semiautomatic weapons that have no purpose other than to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. And it’s a valid concern — several schools have made it clear that they plan to penalize students who take part in such demonstrations. Curtis Rhodes, the superintendent of Needville ISD in Needville, Texas, has threatened a three-days suspension for any student who walks out to protest.

The Resources

The ACLU reminds us that, while schools do have the power to penalize students for walking out to protest, they don’t have the power to punish the students any more harshly than they would for any other type of nonattendance. (So what Curtis Rhodes is threatening is illegal.) It also offers more information about free speech and student protests.

For students who do suffer disciplinary action for walking out, the V21 Collective has offered to help turn those accounts into badass college admissions essays.

Others have made similar statements. Grace Gibson</a. is a writing tutor, doctoral student, and survivor of gun violence who offers her services. Writing teacher and former college application coach Samuel Ashworth extends his offer to students penalized for Black Lives Matters protests. I have no doubt that there are others out there who I’ve missed and that the list will grow over time.

NACAC, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, is maintaining an ever-updated list of colleges and universities that have made statements about the impact of disciplinary action on college admission. Spoiler alert: All of the statements I’ve seen support the students and assure them that they won’t be penalized for participating in the protest — even if results in disciplinary action. The general tenor is that determined, impassioned students willing to take action in defense of their rights is something to be encouraged and celebrated (and rightly so).

If you plan to march, you can register to march, and if you can’t make it to Washington for the march there, there’s a list of other marches around the country (and, in fact, the world), so you can probably find one near you. You can also register to vote — anyone who will be 18 by the time of the election can register, and some states allow preregistration for future voters as young as 16. And if you can’t march, consider donating.

Let me know in comments if you find more resources that can support students as they stand up for their own lives.

3 thoughts on Resources for students who choose to march



    At the risk of sounding callous, though, let me point out that many, if not most, high schools are bully-laden cliquish hellholes of the type so accurately portrayed in “Heathers” and the “Mean Girls” films.

    Tongue control and inclusiveness can be handled onsite and do not require the vote of notoriously corrupt F-state legislators.

    I’m a grad of a FL high school, my niece was graduated from the same school, and the same behaviors were rampant.

    If these students can unite for political action, they are equally competent to ban unethical peer pressure, high-school hate groups, racism, sexism, looksism, and the tawdry behavioral problems which raise stress and reduce grades for their peers.

    Wolfson High students sure as hell DID NOT turn out in protest for Black Lives Matter (or any other form of protest) when their classmate Jordan Davis was murdered by gun.

    1. I don’t disagree with that. That’s one thing that pisses me off about the whole “but mental illness!” thing: A kid doesn’t have to have a diagnosable mental illness to feel despair and hate everyone around him because high school is an abusive hellhole. While everyone argues about Arming the Cray-Crays, no one is bothering to pay attention to the unaddressed sociopolitical stuff going on within the schools themselves that could actually have an effect on reducing school shootings.

      I absolutely support rational gun laws and think making guns less accessible is essential to reducing gun violence. A miserable kid with a decorative katana isn’t going to be mowing down his classmates left and right while sheriff’s deputies cower outside the school. I’m glad that someone is taking a stand in that way, even if it’s only teenagers, and even if lawmakers continue to not give a shit. But I hope that once we’re seeing progress in that arena, we can also turn some attention to the goings-on within the schools that make students take their own lives or the lives of others, or just feel like they want to.

      1. Update: at this time, Dalton (GA) HS, fifteen miles from me, is on lockdown because a teacher has barricaded himself in a classroom and has fired shots.

        So much for The Drumpfster’s idea of arming teachers. Look at all of the Broward Co. and Dalton deputies and teachers: not a Dirty Harry Callahan in the bunch.

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