AUBURN — Edward Little High School students who participate in the March 14 #Enough National School Walkout will face one hour of detention, Superintendent Katy Grondin said, because the School Department doesn’t want to favor one political demonstration over another.
The walkout, organized by the national group Women’s March, will be from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m., each minute honoring the life of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.
The event is calling for Congress to change gun laws to make schools safer, and to remember school shooting victims.
Most area high schools are not giving detention to students who participate, according to interviews with area administrators.
Auburn will be, Grondin said, not because it doesn’t support students expressing their views, but because it doesn’t want to favor one political demonstration over another.
“We really tried to take a balanced approach,” Grondin said. “This was planned during second period class time. We support that students will be taking action and we are working with students,” she said, as is the Auburn Police Department. “We have all the safety precautions in place.”
Police and faculty will be outside keeping extra eyes out to ensure safety, Principal Scott Annear said.
By leaving class and participating in a walkout, students will be committing civil disobedience, Grondin said. The high school’s handbook says students who cut class are subject to detention.
“That’s what we’re following,” she said.
It’s important to have a response plan that doesn’t favor one political view over another, she said. “We have to respect everyone’s opinion and different viewpoints. Administrators have talked to student organizers. Students understand,” Grondin said.
Leah Burtchell and Miranda Chadbourne, both 15 who are organizing Edward Little’s March 14 walkout, agreed.
“They can’t grant amnesty because they’d have to do it for every movement. We’re not doing this as a whole school,” Chadbourne said.
It means they’ll spend one hour in detention for participating, the students said, shrugging it off and saying they’ll use the time to do homework.
“Detention doesn’t go on your permanent record,” Burtchell said. “A lot of students stay after to get work done. I don’t think it will affect the movement that much.”
More in Monday’s paper: A look at high schoolers participating in the National School Walkout day, how school districts are responding.