RALEIGH – As students across the country engage in coordinated walk-outs to protest legislative inaction on gun violence, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina is calling on school administrators to respect the First Amendment rights of students and offering assistance to any students who are harshly disciplined for expressing their views.

“While school officials may discipline students for missing class, they can’t punish students more harshly because they are walking out to express their political views, or because officials don’t agree with their message,” said Chris Brook, Legal Director of the ACLU of North Carolina. “Officials should remember that even when they are within their rights to discipline students, it doesn’t mean they should. We encourage any students who are harshly disciplined for engaging in political walk-outs to contact the ACLU for help.” 

North Carolina students can contact the ACLU of North Carolina for legal help by calling 919-834-3466 or going online to action.aclu.org/legal-intake/nc

Outside of school, students enjoy essentially the same rights to protest and speak out as anyone else. This means that students are likely to be most protected if they organize, protest, and advocate off campus and outside of school hours.

The National ACLU is holding a training call to inform students of their rights when protesting on Thursday, March 1, at 8 p.m. RSVP for the training here.