Student gets detention after participating in walkout at Cabarrus County school

CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Some Cabarrus County students are now facing detention for being part of Wednesday's nationwide school walkouts.

The purpose of the walkouts was to honor the lives of the 17 people killed in February's Florida school shooting.

Thousands of students across North Carolina and the country were a part of the walkout for Parkland shooting victims Wednesday.

School leaders in Cabarrus County are now handing down punishment for participation, and they say it's all in the name of safety.

Though a letter form Jay M Robinson High School says this was the decision of several county schools, in a statement, the county says there was no system-wide policy.

One of the students now facing detention, a high school sophomore from Jay M Robinson High School, spoke to WBTV about her punishment.

She believes the punishment she and fellow students got for the walkout, violates first amendment rights.

"That could've been me. That could've been my school. That could've been any of us," the student said.

Like many, she was moved by the national call for gun control.

But her participation Wednesday is now resulting in detention, Friday.

"A lot of the teachers had a miscommunication, and told the students they wouldn't get in trouble," the student said.

She says she found out minutes before the event that there would be consequences.

"And I just said oh well, I already said I was going to go, I want to go, I'm going to do it," she said.

On Thursday, she got her detention letter from Principal Tripp Aldredge.

It cites "student safety" for the reason the school system was "committed to keep students in the building."

It also states the walkout was for a cause they all could get behind, but the school had concern for "a day when a group of students want to protest over a more divisive issue."

The letter concludes with reminding students, "most historical acts of civil disobedience have garnered a consequence."

The letter even asks the question "How many times was Martin Luther King arrested?"

"You're punishing them from doing something that directly effects them," the student's mother said.

The mom tried to fight the detention, but the school is standing firm.

"We shouldn't be discouraging them from being politically engaged. We should be encouraging them," the mother said.

Cabarrus County schools was contacted for further comment on this.

In part of their statement, they said they established alternative ways students could be involved in this movement, like assemblies, moments of silence and wearing ribbons.

"Cabarrus County Schools did not have a system-wide policy regarding students who participated in National Walkout Day. Our district complies with all state and local Board of Education policies regarding student privacy, as well as student discipline, so we are unable to provide comments about specific students or student disciplinary actions. We use the provisions outlined in Board Policy to determine appropriate disciplinary action. As a district, we respect students' rights to protest and encourage them to do so in constructive ways that promote peaceful dialogue and interaction. We also have a responsibility to ensure student safety and minimize disruptions. Logistically speaking, having large groups of students exit buildings simultaneously could result in injuries, so in the weeks leading up to National Walkout Day, we worked with our middle and high school principals to provide students with alternative opportunities to support the spirit of the walkouts, but also to keep them safe. These opportunities included student-led assemblies that focused on inclusion and acceptance, moments of silence, and wearing bracelets, ribbons, etc. to signify solidarity. "

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.