Student Walkouts Over School Safety

On Wednesday, March 14, students across the country and across Western New York staged walkouts in as a demonstration about gun control and school safety in the wake of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Paul Cambria spoke to WGRZ about who is being permitted to walk out of schools and the free speech implications of these protests. The full story is available on the WGRZ website.

Walkouts in high schools

According to WGRZ, several schools in Western New York allowed walkouts by high school students, but elementary and middle schools in many of these districts instead opted for a moment of silence or no observance of the walkout at all. Students in these schools who leave school or class without permission could receive anything from a verbal warning to a suspension as punishment.

Right to free speech

WGRZ asked Mr. Cambria if students at middle schools and elementary schools, who are not permitted to participate in the walkout, should be allowed to participate if they decide they want to. Mr. Cambria responded that “if they’re going to allow for one segment of the students, the adults, the older ones […] they should also do something equally acceptable for the younger students because the First Amendment has no age limit.” He went on to say that, while students can participate in the walkout, they cannot disrupt school for those who are not participating.

About Paul J. Cambria, Jr.

The chair of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area, Mr. Cambria advises clients on criminal trials, criminal appeals, constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between the firm’s offices in Buffalo and Los Angeles.