ORTING, Wash. - A local school district is punishing students for walking out of class in a call for school safety, and some parents are not happy.
They say they should have been warned about the risk kids were taking to make a statement.
The Orting School District superintendent says administrators and teachers have been trying to make sure students knew there’d be consequences for the walk out, but parents are saying there needs to be better communication because they didn’t know until they got an email Thursday, saying their kids would be getting detention.
Tara Daugherty’s son walked out of school along with thousands of students across the country Wednesday to protest gun violence.
“This makes me cry, just these kids standing up for what they believe in,” she said, watching the video a student made of the walk-out.
“Then today, I received an email from the school saying that my son was getting detention for walking out of class,” Daugherty said. “Very surprised.”
She says her son came home with a flyer about the walkout a few days ago, and the school never let her know the walk-out wasn’t school sanctioned and there would be consequences.
“That’s where I have the problem,” Daugherty said.
Others say administrators did try to warn students.
“Teachers and the principal said just be aware of your consequences and know what’s coming if you do walk out,” said Dylan Lalone, a junior at Orting.
He didn’t walk out – but about 80 Orting High School students did.
“It was an adrenaline rush I think, when I walked out I was shaking, along with a whole bunch of students, like I was so scared to walk out, can’t believe I just did that, it was empowering,” said Zaira Bardos, a sophomore who organized the Orting walk-out.
She says she wanted smaller schools to be able to share their voices too.
“I really believe that our world needs someone who speaks up,” Bardos said.
The district says it decided to stick to the handbook - and issue detentions for truancy - after counter protesters asked if they would be able to walk out without consequences.
The district also says it wanted to teach a bigger lesson in civil disobedience: Students are free to take action for what they believe in, but they'll have to take responsibility too.
Tara says that, although her son didn’t know about it, “I’ve talked to him since then and he says,
'You know I’m just going to take my detention in stride, we know what we did was right.'"
The students will serve their detentions March 26.
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