Students accept truancy to take part in protests

Students accept truancy to take part in protests

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on March 1, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 23 at 4:43 PM

BOISE -- With hundreds of kids across the state walking out on class, school officials are taking steps to encourage kids to stay in class, preparing to enforce policy already in place. 

The walkouts on Tuesday weren’t as large as Monday, but a lot of the students who missed class did so knowing there are consequences waiting for them when they go back to school.

"I'm missing all my classes. I walked out of my first period English class at 8:30 in the morning," said Steven Davenport, a sophomore at Capital High School.

Dozens of students skipped school to protest that education matters, knowing full well that this day was not a free day.

"They're going to mark truancy on us," said Bridger Larman, a sophomore at Capital High School.

"They said as we were walking out that I was a truancy and an absence, but we didn't care because we wanted to come here and stand up for our rights," said Nancy Henke, a freshman at Central Academy.

In the Boise School District, truancy is a real possibility for kids that walked out of class.

"Students simply cannot walk off campus without a permission to leave forum. That's just wrong. They need to be in the classroom," said Boise School District spokesman Dan Hollar.

Some of the students we talked to say they have their teacher's support to protest against Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna's plan for education reform.

"Are you having any teachers tell you go down and protests for us?” asked NewsChannel 7.

“Yes, some of them are, a couple of them are,” said Shelby Park, a freshmen at Central Academy. “They're just like, we support you 100 percent, and if you want to go, go. No one is stopping you.”

Alex Bruce, a sophomore at Timberline High School, said one teacher said, "I'm not going to try to stop you, just make sure that tomorrow you come and get all your make up work, and that you keep your grades up, and I'm okay with you voicing your opinion and standing up for what you believe in.”

While Dan Hollar only speaks for the Boise School District, other districts have similar attendance policies.

"If you have an excessive amount of unexcused absences that you can be suspended and/or expelled, and credit taken away from you as a student," said Hollar.

In Nampa, the district sent out an e-mail to the parents of middle school students after hearing that they were planning a walkout. Here’s that e-mail:

Parents: Some middle school students are trying to organize a walkout today (Tuesday). We will not accept notes or phone calls from parents giving children permission to leave. If you want your child to walkout in protest, please come and personally pick them up. We are concerned about your child's safety. There are safer ways to protest, such as signing petitions, writing letters, or contacting legislators. We do not support walking out of school to protest. Please encourage your child to stay in school.

At Timberline High School in Boise, one student said that student resource officers were physically not allowing students to leave campus unless they had parent consent.

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