When students’ free expression evolves into an organized protest or walkout during school hours, principals and other school officials find themselves in a conflict between supporting student voice and fulfilling their custodial duty toward students. Here are some considerations if students are planning an organized protest or walkout during school hours:
Keep students safe. As always, this is priority number one. We don’t want students walking onto thoroughfares and entering chaotic places during protest. Most districts have well-established guidelines that define the roles of school officials, the monitoring and reporting process, and the process for engaging law enforcement to assist in monitoring for student safety. As school leaders anticipate a student walkout, it’s wise to revisit those guidelines and consult with the district to make sure they are current.