BINGHAM, Maine (WMTW) MSAD 13 Students who take part in the National School Walkout later this month will be penalized, according to their superintendent.
The National School Walkout will take place on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the South Florida high school shooting that left 17 people dead.
Walkouts are planned at dozens of Maine schools, according to actionnetwork.org, but MSAD 13/RSU 83 schools are not on the list.
However, Superintendent Virginia Rebar said in a letter to parents that after discussion with other school leaders, it was decided that students will be disciplined if they partake in the walkout.
"The First Amendment prohibits governmental entities from viewpoint discrimination," Rebar said in the letter, which is posted on the district's website. "Students and staff having views differing from those of the walkout would have to have an equal opportunity to express their views.
"Scheduling a pause in the school day only for those supporting the goals of the walkout would be legally problematic for the district. Students and staff do not have a First Amendment right to disrupt or interrupt the school day for political advocacy." Students and staff partaking in the walkout will be marked absent, she said.
"We have great reservations about exposing students across the nation to announced presence outside of locked classrooms and locked buildings, considering safety concerns," Rebar said, adding that the district has taken its own measures to keep students safe while they are in school.
MSAD 13 comprises the communities of Bingham and Moscow.