Students in Waukesha could be disciplined for attending March 14 walkout without parental permission

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WAUKESHA — The superintendent of the School District of Waukesha on Wednesday, Feb. 21 issued a clarification regarding the district’s policy on students participating in walkouts, ahead of an event scheduled for March 14. A flyer for the event lists the School District of Waukesha by name, along with the school district property’s address.

The superintendent said in a statement students could be disciplined if they choose to take part in the March 14 walkout because it is not a school-sanctioned or school-organized event. It is organized by an outside group, and will be taking place outside school.

However, Dr. Todd Gray said in a statement: “If parents wish to excuse their children from school to attend such an event or demonstration,
that is their right​.”

Dr. Gray said further:

“I would like to make clear that this position is not at all about students. At no time have we said students cannot make a student-initiated statement peacefully, without disrupting the school, while staying in school.​ This is about an outside organization/organizer.”

According to a flyer for the event, the March 14 walkout is being organized by “Women’s March Youth EMPOWER.” The group is calling on students, teachers, administrators, parents and allies to take part in the national school walkout on March 14 for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. across every time zone “to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action.”

The flyer lists Waukesha Public Schools and the school district property’s address. In a message to parents on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the superintendent said the organizers are advertising that the School District of Waukesha or Waukesha Area Schools are participating or involved, but this is not the case. He reiterated that the district is not participating or involved in this event.

He said there is no district employee or non-district individual authorized to reference the district for this event. He said the district has requested the orgaqnizers eliminate any reference to Waukesha schools.

He noted “school policy prohibits students from using obscenity, slanderous or libelous statements, or disruptive tactics, or advocate violation of the law or school regulations”. Participation in a walkout is disruptive and against school regulations, and will subject students to disciplinary measures.”

Additionally, he noted that participating in a political action activity is prohibited by school board policy.

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