RALEIGH – On the eve of planned walkouts by high school students across the country to protest legislative inaction on gun violence, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is urging public school officials to support students who wish to engage in civic activism.
In an open letter to school officials, the civil liberties group asks educators and school officials to not punish students who participate in demonstrations, to foster an open dialogue, and to teach students about the history of student activism and its ability to create positive change.
“As educators, this tragedy presents a unique opportunity to take essential lessons of civic responsibility and political discourse beyond the classroom,” reads the open letter in part. “We encourage you as educators to guide your students toward healthy civic engagement and to teach them the value and history of peaceful protest in creating change in our great nation … The First Amendment was created to protect the right of the people to speak freely and to peacefully assemble, precisely to inspire dialogue on difficult topics—conversations that are the backbone of a healthy democracy.”
More information about students’ protest rights is available at www.aclu.org/StudentProtestRights