School That Suspended Teacher For Questioning Walkout Won’t Back Pro-Life Walkout
This week, Rocklin High School, which made headlines on National Walkout day for putting a teacher on paid administrative leave for questioning the school’s endorsement of the event, officially rejected a student petition to similarly sanction a pro-life demonstration. When students asked the school to give them 17 minutes to “walkout for life,” the school exposed its “double standard” regarding politically charged events.
As The Daily Wire reported, AP History teacher Julianne Benzel, who has taught at Rocklin for two decades, learned just a half-hour before school on National Walkout Day that she had been placed on paid administrative leave. She was given no explanation for the suspension, only learning the school’s rationale that afternoon when reporters arrived at her house. The reason she was told to stay home: she’d asked students the week before to consider the ramifications of the school officially endorsing a student walkout for a political cause. By supporting the 17-minute gun control demonstration, was the school now obligating itself to support any political demonstration? How about a pro-life event, asked Benzel.
Benzel was quickly reinstated, the school clearly wanting the incident to go away. However, one of Benzel’s pro-life students decided to test the school’s standards and petitioned the school to allow students to demonstrate against abortion in the exact same way as they had for gun control. The event was to be held on April 11, exactly one month after National Walkout Day. The school informed the student a few days before it, that they would not back the event, claiming that the difference was that the gun control event was “content neutral” as it focused on “school safety.” Abortion, administrators told Benzel, is “a controversial issue.”
“Unfortunately my original premonition and question that I asked my students in class that day turned out to be correct: there is indeed a double standard,” Benzel told The Daily Wire in a statement. “I would have genuinely loved to have been proven wrong in this case, but in fact there is special preferences for those walkouts that this administration deems ‘worthy.'”
Though the school would not officially sanction the event, about 20 pro-life students held the 17-minute event on Wednesday anyhow and around 30 community members attended in solidarity. Unlike National Walkout Day, the student-led event got little media attention. Like students for the gun control event, the pro-life students held a moment of silence. They followed the moment of silence with a prayer for the unborn, then the student who spearheaded the event gave a brief speech. They ended the event by singing “Amazing Grace.” The students had to bring their own sound system, since the school would not provide one like it had for the gun control event.
Though the school did not officially sanction the event, it did not punish any of the students who participated.
Benzel gave an account of her dispute with the school to Tucker Carlson two weeks ago in which she noted that one of her “very brave” students was going to plan a pro-life event and see if the school would support the cause like it supported the student walkout for gun control. Video below via Fox News: