Schools threaten to suspend students who boycott gun laws after school shooting

PARKLAND, FL – FEBRUARY 18: Kareen Vargas bows her head while visiting a makeshift memorial in front of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed on February 14, on February 18, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz for killing 17 people at the high school. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, that took the lives of 17 people, has galvanized a new generation of teen activists to take on gun reform.

Unfortunately some schools don’t seem to support their students constitutional rights to express their opinions about school shootings.

According to USA Today, Superintendent Curtis Rhodes of Needville Independent School District in Texas threatened that students who participate in “any type of protest or awareness” will be suspended for three days. He also noted that he is aware “there is a ‘movement’ attempting to stage walkouts/disruptions of the school” and is clearly not in favor.

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The next nationwide student walkout is planned for April 20, which is the 19th anniversary of the deadly high school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in 1999.

Young people leading a movement

Curtis Rhodes and the Needville Independent School District in Texas seem to be putting themselves on the wrong side of history.

Less than a week after a deadly school shooting in Florida students are stepping to the forefront of the gun control debate with school walkouts and a march planned for Washington, DC.

The Women’s March EMPOWER branch will kick things off with a call for “students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies” to take part in a walkout on March 14. Those participating are encouraged to walk out of their classrooms at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes (one minute for each life lost in the massacre), according to NBC News.

The walkout in response to school shootings, according to the branch, will “protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods.”

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Ten days later, on March 24, students from Parkland, Florida, where the shooting occurred, are planning their own “March for Our Lives” rally in Washington, D.C.

The protest, according to its mission statement, will “demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.”

“No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country,” said the group.

Students take on Trump

On Tuesday, President Trump indicated that he wants to see so-called bump stocks banned. These devices are used to turn regular rifles into ones that fire much like automatic weapons.

“After the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, I directed the attorney general to clarify whether certain bump stock devices like the one used in Las Vegas are illegal under current law,” Trump stated, referring to Jeff Sessions.

“Just a few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns,” Trump went on to say from the White House.

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On Wednesday, Donald Trump and some of his other cabinet officials conducted a listening session with students, parents and school shootings activists.

Speaking at the White House, Trump suggested on Thursday that it might be a good idea for teachers who are trained in how to handle guns to receive a bonus.

“These people are cowards. They’re not going to walk into a school if 20% of the teachers have guns — it may be 10% or may be 40%. And what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus. We give them a little bit of a bonus,” Trump said, according to CNN. “They’ll frankly feel more comfortable having the gun anyway. But you give them a little bit of a bonus.”