ACLU: Students should not be punished for participating in national school walkout

(WMAR) - Students from coast to coast are planning to walk out of school Wednesday morning as a call to action for tougher gun control laws.

Harford County Public Schools are threatening discipline if students leave the classroom, and now the ACLU of Maryland is stepping in to defend them. They are telling the Harford County Public School District not to punish students who leave school grounds on Wednesday any harsher than they would for any other unexcused absence.

RELATED: Harford County students told they can't leave school on day of national walkout

Last week, the school district sent out a letter to parents and students saying it could not condone students leaving the classroom to participate in the national school walkout due to safety reasons. Superintendent Barbara Canavan said students who do leave could face disciplinary action.

The ACLU of Maryland says it has received a number of complaints about the letter and is now responding to it, saying the school district cannot infringe on the students' first amendment rights to free speech.

The school district has not responded to the ACLU, however, in the letter, Canavan said they would be holding activities in school for students to talk about their thoughts and feelings on gun violence.

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