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Possible repercussions for school walkouts

Posted at 5:59 PM, Mar 13, 2018

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Thousands of students, including those here in West Michigan, are expected to take part in a protest against gun violence tomorrow morning. Many schools are allowing their students to walk out during class at 10 a.m.  on Wednesday.

However, not every school is participating in the walkout, and some students may want to protest by walking out on their own.

An attorney at the ACLU of Michigan tells us students still have the right to do this without facing legal punishment, but they may be susceptible to discipline from their school. For example, they might be given an unexcused absence.

"Students have a responsibility to be in school, and if they decide to walk out they can be punished," said Miriam Aukerman, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Michigan. "But they can't be punished any differently than any other student who would be walking out."

Students also have the right not to walk out, even if their school is participating in tomorrow's protests.

"Whoever is in the minority in a particular conversation... It's going to take a little more courage to stand up and talk about what you believe in," said Aukerman. "But it's that conversation, it's that debate, it's that exchange of ideas, that's really what produces good public policy. It produces the kind of social change that we need in our society."

For more information on your rights during tomorrow's protests, you can visit the ACLU's website here.