A high school student in Ohio was suspended for refusing to leave the classroom during the National Walkout on Wednesday, March 14.
The walkout involved students across the nation leaving class to advocate for gun control legislation, coming exactly one month after a shooter gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
Many schools allowed students to leave class for the walkout while some even required students to do so.
Others reportedly threatened punishment for any students who left class while others set up school-sanctioned events inside that allowed students to protest in a school-controlled environment.
At Hilliard High School, senior Jacob Shoemaker said he didn’t want to take sides in the protest, which explicitly advocated for legislation that would restrict gun ownership and/or ban certain types of guns.
Shoemaker chose to stay in his classroom but ended up being suspended for a day since he didn’t join the protests or go to the alternative, a study hall.
Shoemaker’s suspension was shared online by a friend, reported The Associated Press. The letter said the student was suspended for failing to follow instructions.
Shoemaker and his father Scott confirmed to 10TV that he was suspended since he chose neither option the school provided.
The student said that he was aware there could be consequences for his decision and he was willing to accept those consequences.
“It’s the least political protest that exists. The thing that I was protesting was politics in the classroom. I feel it has no place in a school, in a district, anywhere,” Shoemaker told ABC 6.
Student at a high school in Ohio was suspended after refusing to leave the classroom during the National School Walkout. pic.twitter.com/jUYyBTfFJR
— Jim Eastridge (@jimEastridge1) March 16, 2018
Hilliard City Schools objected to the framing of the story though, calling the post claiming the student was suspended for refusing to participate in the walkout false.
Stacie Raterman, director of communications, said that federal privacy laws prevented her from talking about Shoemaker specifically. “I can only confirm that no student was suspended for not walking out, nor were any suspended for walking out,” she added.
Scott Shoemaker said that he received some death threats because some members of the public mistakenly thought he was the school’s principal, with some believing that Shoemaker was suspended for joining the protests.
“I’ve had to change my number today. It has not been a fun day for me. But yeah, I’ve had a couple of death threats too. People who thought that I was the one who suspended him and that basically what they would like to do to me,” said Scott Shoemaker.