CITIZEN VOICES® Punish students for walkout protests?

Mar 12, 2018

Following a school shooting in Florida, students in New Hampshire and across the United States announced they would organize walk-out protests to call for legislative action on guns, such as a ban on assault weapons. School responses to these planned protests have varied from supportive to threatening disciplinary action.

“Should students be disciplined for walking out of class to protest the lack of action to ban assault-style weapons?”

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page February 26, 2018

178 citizens responded79 citizens were opposed to disciplining students for walking out69 citizens were in favor of disciplining for walking out35 citizens commented on related questions or issues

What Participants Said

No: 79 citizens were opposed to disciplining students who walk out of class to protest lack of action on gun control.

  • “Actively taking advantage of their constitutional right to protest is learning in action. This is an educational activity.”
  • “Every American has a Constitutional Right to protest. These kids aren't complaining about peas at lunch, they don't want to be shot and die in school.  I support their right to speak out.”
  • “A protest that isn't disruptive is worthless. Good on the kids.”

Yes: 64 citizens were in favor of disciplining students who walk out of class to protest lack of action on gun control.

  • “Yes, they can protest on the weekends or after class.  This is sad that a peaceful protest must upset classes and people's work schedules.  In the real world you can't walk out of work.”
  • “Yes. The punishment should be the same if they leave just because they wanted to or if they leave in protest.”
  • “They need to follow the rules of school.  If they skip school for this then they should be suspended.”

Other: 35 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:

  • Underlying causes: “Maybe kids need to stop bullying other kids that make them wanna shoot up schools in the first place.”
  • School security: “A good quick deterrent would be for the local police departments to use a room in the school for police personnel. A satellite location … After that's established a potential shooter wouldn't know when the police would or wouldn't be at a school.”
  • Gun control: “I would rather see them protesting the problem of not punishing these mad dogs instead of blaming an innate object for the problem.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Read the full Facebook discussion of this question

Click here for details on our methodology


Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 8:08am

I agree with Karen's point, however there is no real way to measure their knowledge of the issue behind the protest. And this isn't about some convoluted political/social issue - this matter is simple. These kids don't want to fear for their lives in school.

Shannon Turner
- danville

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 9:24am

these children have nothing to fear, you have made multiple comments that NH is the safest state and it is in fact for gun safety.

Chuck Malias
- Manchester

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 8:19am

Fair point. But NH ranks poorly in mental health wellness/services/funding and since most gun advocates blame mental health and not guns in these mass shootings, you might want to reconsider your stance.

Karen Keyes
- Stratham

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 9:32pm

Whether a student should be disciplined for skipping class to protest against anything.... assault-style weapons, discrimination, bullying, etc. .... should come down to one thing - whether or not the student understands why he or she is protesting. I think a lot of students just go along for the ride because they are joining in with the 'crowd' mentality at the time. They also see it as a easy way to skip class. Not only should they understand the issue about which they are protesting, but they should also take the time to learn what the opposing side has to say.

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