Last week, Harford County Public Schools 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. A handful of students had planned on joining the movement to protest for stricter gun laws and honor the lives lost in the parkland school shooting.
School officials say that students who do leave could face disciplinary action.
The ACLU of Maryland has stepped in to defend students. They reached out to the Harford County Public School District, telling them not to punish students who leave school grounds on Wednesday any harsher than they would for any other unexcused absence.
"So what we want to be sure the students, schools, and parents understand is that it's possible that you'll be exposed to discipline if you participate, but that you can't be singled out to be punished any more harshly if you're leaving class to make a political point than for some other point," explained Sonia Kumar, a staff attorney for the ACLU. "Students don't give up their first amendment rights when they walk through the school doors."
The nationwide walkout will start at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and will last 17 minutes for the 17 lives lost in that school shooting.