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School’s out.
Image: AP/J. Scott Applewhite

A wave of activism among American teenagers is rippling across the country as high-school students respond to calls from their peers in Parkland, Florida to join them in demanding that lawmakers adopt stricter gun control measures.

The call to action follows a Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland that left 17 people dead. That massacre—the eighth school shooting in the US this year—has sparked a national debate about gun control that, unlike after previous shootings, has whipped American teenagers into action. They’ve traveled en masse to Florida’s state capital in Tallahassee to protest for changes, staged classroom walkouts, and have taken to Twitter to make further demands for change.

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Now, some high-school administrators are attempting to rein some of the furor, according to Buzzfeed. A school district near Houston, Texas sent letters home to parents, saying if their kids staged walkouts they would be subject to a three-day suspension. A Wisconsin school district issued a similar warning (before later dialing back its response). The threat of disciplinary action by high-school districts matters because infractions could reflect poorly on students when applying to colleges and universities.

So American colleges and universities are stepping in to intervene, releasing statements telling potential applicants that admissions offices will gladly turn a blind eye if student records bear disciplinary actions related to protest activities over gun control.

“Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone’s admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school’s disciplinary policy,” wrote a Yale University admissions officer. “I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven.”


Other schools have joined the chorus, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Tulane University, and Dartmouth College, among many others.

In response, the National Association for College Admission Counseling has created a resource page where schools can update their individual policies around student protest activity.