In the aftermath of the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida this month, some universities are now reassuring high school students and would-be applicants that it’s OK for them to engage in protests regarding gun laws.
That is countering an effort by some high schools to intimidate kids out of demonstrating. Most prominently, as BuzzFeed News reported on Thursday, a Texas high school put out a notice stating that any students who participated in a gun-related school walkout “could face an in-school suspension” as a result.
Now, as if to reassure high schoolers throughout the country that protest is not anathema to institutions of higher learning, some college administrators are speaking out. For instance, Yale Senior Assistant Director of Admissions Hannah Mendlowitz wrote that no student accepted to Yale would have their acceptance rescinded over participation in the walkout, and she made it clear she was in full support of the cause.
“Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone’s admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school’s disciplinary policy. I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven,” she wrote, in a blog titled “In Support Of Student Protests.”
Administrators with Boston University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, better known as MIT, have also weighed in, assuring prospective students that they won’t be penalized for participating in the protests.
Admission to BU will not be jeopardized should your school levy a penalty for participating in peaceful protests, such as the National School Walkout Day. See Dean of Admissions Kelly A. Walter's full statement here: https://t.co/Xikz3HkClJ @BU_Tweets #StudentsStandUp— BU Admissions (@ApplyToBU) February 23, 2018
Students: If you participate in peaceful protests against gun violence and receive school discipline for walking out, staging your protest, etc., please rest assured that you can report it to UMass Amherst, and we won't hold it against you. #ParklandStudentsSpeak— UMass Undergraduate Admissions (@UMassAdmissions) February 22, 2018
In short, it seems as if many colleges are backing the students’ walkout plans, valuing the use of the First Amendment in response to issues surrounding the Second Amendment. There is already a pair of walkouts planned in the coming months, one on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the Parkland shooting, and one on April 20, the anniversary of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. These are in addition to the high-profile “March For Our Lives,” which is slated for March 24.