FROM STAFF AND SUBMITTED REPORTS
KYLE — About 150 students walked out of Lehman High School and marched along city streets on Friday in protest of U.S. immigration policy.
Carrying a Mexican flag and picket signs, the group marched from the school to the Kyle Parkway overpass at Interstate 35 and then back to the school, a distance of about three miles. Students left the building at about 2:30 p.m. and returned about an hour later, said Tim Savoy, the Hays school district spokesperson.
School staff did not interfere with students who joined the protest and the Kyle Police Department escorted the marchers after they left campus, the spokesperson said.
“From one perspective, the district understands the current political climate in the country and can appreciate that some students feel compelled to exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and expression, [but] the district must also recognize the right of other students to have a disruption-free environment and protected classroom instruction time,” Savoy said.
District and school officials are deciding their response to the protest. Students who participated will receive an unexcused absence for the classes they missed, which could affect their eligibility to be exempt from final exams, Savoy said. They could also face in-school suspension for a “brief period,” Savoy said.
Here is Savoy’s full statement:
Today, about 150 students from Lehman High School staged a protest by walking out of the school building. The district has a dual response to the afternoon’s events. From one perspective, the district understands the current political climate in the country and can appreciate that some students feel compelled to exercise their constitutional rights to free speech and expression. Equally important, the district must also recognize the right of other students to have a disruption-free environment and protected classroom instruction time.
Students who chose to participate were allowed to do so without interference from staff. Faculty and staff monitored the situation to ensure the safety of the students while on campus. Officers from the Kyle Police Department escorted the students when the protest march took to the roadway – also to make sure students remained safe. The march was a peaceful demonstration.
Leaving class without permission or skipping class is against the rules of Lehman High School and in Hays CISD. Additionally, there are policies and procedures that govern when campuses can be used for non-school activities. Many of these rules were violated by those who chose to protest.
Sometimes, individuals feel so compelled by their desires to express their views that, upon weighing the potential consequences of breaking the rules, they are willing to accept the ramifications of their actions. That is part of the decision-making process in the choosing of when and how to stand up for what you believe.
It is the district’s hope that all students, regardless of their position on the issues or choice to participate in the protest, will use this as a learning opportunity to better understand the rights, freedoms and responsibilities that accompany them, as afforded us in our Constitution.
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A couple of dozen SM High School students left the campus on a protest march Thursday in support of the “day without immigrants.” pic.twitter.com/Xz0IoSh10b
— San Marcos Record (@sanmarcosrecord) February 17, 2017