After the school walkout to protest gun violence in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, Rocklin High School 17-year-old student Brandon Gillespie was inspired by discredited history teacher Julianne Benzel to test the school’s possible double standard on student protests. Gillespie decided to lead another school walkout, this time in protest of abortion.
“Along with being a movement commemorating the millions of children who fell victim to abortion, this movement is one that stands for all students’ right to freedoms of speech and assembly,” Gillespie told National Review.
Knowing that the school had a history of shutting down pro-life events, did Gillespie discover that his school, in fact, did have a double standard? In a way, yes. Said Gillespie prior to the walkout, “They [Rocklin High School] are not giving me any accommodation at all except for the district policy of not punishing students for protesting. That is not the accommodation that I asked for; I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible [sic] their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use.”
Despite the school administration’s differing treatment of these two student-led protests, the pro-life walkout went on as planned. With help from Students for Life, on April 11, more than 250 schools participated in the National Pro-Life Walkout with students leaving at 10:00 a.m. for 17 minutes to honor the 10 unborn children who will be aborted at a Planned Parenthood facility during that time.
Even though the event drew high participation in schools around the country, LifeSiteNews reports that many of these pro-life students received pushback from several school administrators who said the walkout was “too political” or would “disrupt instruction.”
Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins commented, “Pro-life students deserve the same respect and accommodation that anti-gun student activists experienced.”
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