Protesting: What Students Can and Can’t Do at AHS

Kaitlyn Mason | Web Managing Editor

Can you sit during the Pledge of Allegiance?

Every morning, Student Government President Sophia Trinkle says the Pledge of Allegiance to start off the school day.

While it’s been embedded into our head since the days of kindergarten, students do not have to join and salute the flag. In fact, it’s their constitutional right to stay seated, according to the 1943 decision in the West Virginia v. Barnette Supreme Court case.

This case overruled a case just three years prior, one that stated students could be
forced to stand and say the pledge (Minersville v. Gobitis).

Can you protest at Avon High School?

In 1969, the Tinker v. Des Moines case ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate”.

This ruling means Avon High School students are allowed to protest and advocate for what they believe is right so long as the speech does not “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”5.14

Active Protests are considered to be walkouts, rallies, marches, and things of the like. If you want to protest at AHS and avoid punishments, the best way is to go about it would be to hold it during a lunch or SRT, as missing a class or disrupting an educational setting is punishable.

However, this wouldn’t mean you’re free from a possible punishment.

In 2018, a group of students put together a walkout following the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. It was estimated that over 300 students left their SRT and marched to the bus lot, along with other students across the nation. These students were marked unverified in PowerSchool. The walkout was planned to be 17 minutes, and the
administration warned them to not lengthen the time.

Among these students was senior Sophia Trinkle, who said she saw no resistance to the walk out.

The success of this walk out could be credited to the fact that it was a peaceful protest. There was no destruction of property or major disruptions to the school life.

Passive Protests: Arm bands, pins, duct tape over mouths, and even trash bags. These are the milder forms of protests students could participate in here at school.

Every year, there is a Day of Silence in honor of LGBT+ kids who took their lives and to make awareness of the discrimination they face. Students in Avon have participated in the past, emailing their teachers ahead of time to make them aware of their protest. This is one form of a passive protest. This example of protesting has passed at Avon due to its nature. It is peaceful and non-disruptive. While it can occur during class, it is not taking away from the educational setting.

Infographic by Nathan Miller.


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