Within the wake of the Parkland, Florida faculty capturing earlier this yr, college students nationwide staged walkouts to protest gun violence and help stricter gun management legal guidelines. College students at Hononegah Neighborhood Excessive College in Rockton, Illinois walked out on March 14, 2018, however not all of these college students have been on the identical aspect of the gun management debate.

Madison Oster, a junior at Hononegah with “sincerely-held beliefs concerning the person proper of the Second Modification, firearms insurance policies on the whole, and concerning the optimum option to defend faculties within the occasion of a violent assault” marched that day carrying indicators that learn “Professional Life, Professional God, Professional Gun” and “Defend Us, Police For All Faculties.” And a lawsuit filed this week claims the college “systematically segregated, suppressed, and ostracized” the viewpoints expressed by Oster a similarly-minded college students.

Gun Management and Free Speech Management

Whereas faculty officers accredited Oster’s indicators and she or he was allowed to stroll out of faculty like her classmates, Oster and roughly 5 different pro-gun rights college students “have been made to attend till all of their classmates holding the opposing viewpoint had exited” first, and initially weren’t allowed on the soccer discipline with the estimated 75 college students calling for stricter gun management. An assistant principal allegedly “advised that they’d disturb the peace and begin a struggle.” And whereas the counter-protestors have been ultimately moved nearer to the principle protests, they remained “separated from all different contributors simply contained in the fence, out of everybody else’s sight or listening to. Then, according to Oster’s lawsuit:

On the finish of the walkout, [Assistant Executive Principal] Dougherty subjected Madison’s group to the taunts of their classmates by holding them apart whereas all the different college students walked previous them into the constructing. One scholar yelled at Madison to kill herself. One other scholar took footage of Madison’s group, one in all which reportedly turned a web-based meme and methodology of ridicule among the many different HCHS college students.

Scholar Speech and Critical Constitutional Issues

The American Civil Liberties Union additionally criticized school officials after the protest, saying their remedy of the pro-gun college students “raises severe constitutional considerations.” Below Supreme Court precedent, faculties might solely restrict scholar speech when “essential to keep away from materials and substantial interference with schoolwork or self-discipline.” “On this occasion,” in keeping with Illinois ACLU workers lawyer Rebecca Okay. Glenberg, “there was no obvious purpose to imagine that substantial disruption would happen if pro-gun college students got an equal alternative for expression through the walkout.”

Oster is searching for a ruling that Hononegah violated her First and Fourteenth Modification rights, together with financial damages and court docket prices and bills.

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