ACLU of Illinois Encourages Schools to Respect Free-Speech

Mar 5, 2018

Next Wednesday (March 14) is one month since the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida … and students across the country are planning another walkout.

Monday, the ACLU of Illinois is encouraging schools to take the opportunity for a "lesson in civics."

The ACLU is asking schools to excuse absences for protest participation and to honor students' rights to free speech.

ACLU lawyer Rebecca Glenberg says it’s also important to encourage discussion among students with different views.

“Teaching students how to have disagreements is an important skill, and a crucial one for students as they become actors in our democracy."

Glenberg says schools already let kids go for things like religious holidays and doctor's appointments.
"We think that exercising their free speech rights is conducive to their well being as well. And that this should be considered a good reason for occasionally missing class."

Different schools are taking different approaches: Some are working with students to make sure the walkouts remain safe. Others are demanding students limit what they say, and not take a position on gun control.