On Wednesday, March 14th, thousands of high school students across the country walked out of school in honor of the victims of the Parkland shooting. Many schools supported this walkout and even sent faculty and staff members out with the students to ensure that it was done safely. However, as the ACLU states on its website, “Because the law in most places requires students to go to school, schools can discipline you for missing class. But what they can’t do is discipline you more harshly because of the political nature of or the message behind your action.”
At Pennridge High School in Pennsylvania, the school issued a statement to families prior to the walkout telling them that the school would be holding an assembly in honor of the victims of the Parkland shooting. According to The Morning Call, “the notice also warned that students who left school for a walkout would be doing so without permission and thus would face the normal consequences.” So 225 students at Pennridge High School decided to walk out of class anyway, even though they knew they would face consequences.
Mass shootings are not a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. They are a human issue. They are an epidemic. #Pennridge225 stands with @AMarch4OurLives in demanding Congress take action. #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/iEPK4vAxtF
— Pennridge 225 (@NeverAgainPenn) March 18, 2018
“It was against the wishes of the school board and the school administration, but we did it anyway, because we knew that we have to honor the victims,” Jayson Badal, one of the students who walked out, told Her Campus. “The best way we can honor them is to bring about change to make sure this never happens again.” Her Campus reached out to Pennridge High School for a comment.
The 225 students who walked out received detentions, which Badal says they knew ahead of time they would receive. During the detention, the students wore Parkland victims’ names on their shirts and sat with their arms linked. They referred to the detention as “a modern sit in.”
46 of the #Pennridge225 served the first Saturday morning detention today. Pennridge students wore Parkland victims’ names and sat, arms linked, for the whole dentention. A modern sit in. pic.twitter.com/sCuLxo9jE2
— Pennridge 225 (@NeverAgainPenn) March 17, 2018
The walkout at Pennridge High School is a perfect example of civil disobedience, which the ACLU defines as “the refusal to comply with certain laws as a form of protest.” The students knew that the school had a right to give them detention for walking out, but they decided to do so anyway to bring attention to their cause.
“We took our detention, and we gained incredible influence from that. That influence gave us such a big platform, and that platform is what we’re using to do some good,” Badal said. “It’s really inspiring to know that now we’re able to help someone to make a difference.”
Badal encourages other students across the country to be willing to take hits for what they believe in.
“If it’s important to you and you believe in it 100% and you know that this is going to make our society better, fight for it no matter what,” Badal said. “And if people support you and people reaffirm that with you and you find the people who see the world the same way you do, hold onto them because they’re the people who you’re going to be with and they’re going to be awesome.”
This Saturday, we all stand together on the right side of history- the side of life over money.
I’m so proud I’ll be able to march alongside you, rain or shine.
— Cameron Kasky (@cameron_kasky) March 21, 2018
The students at Pennridge High School will be joining the students from Parkland at the March For Our Lives on Saturday in DC.
“All we wanna do is inspire other kids so they know they can fight for what they believe in,” Badal said.