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Crystal Lake-based School District 155 says students will be disciplined for walkouts

Cary-Grove senior says administration shouldn’t pick and choose when to punish students

A Cary-Grove High School student who tried to hold an anti-abortion walkout Wednesday said administrators aren’t giving him the same accommodations they gave to students who participated in a national school walkout last month in support of the victims of the Parkland, Florida, shooting.

Senior Matt Ahmann sat outside alone at 10 a.m. Wednesday – the time he hoped students would join him in a national walkout for 17 minutes organized by Students for Life of America.

Ahmann said he alerted the district of his plans April 5 in a letter.

Community High School District 155 officials said in an email Tuesday that anyone participating in walkouts would face discipline, unless parents call their student out of class.

This differs from the supportive message sent out about the March 14 walkout to support stronger gun control legislation and honor victims of the Florida shooting, Ahmann said.

“They are picking and choosing,” Ahmann said before his walkout. “School administration shouldn’t be political. If they are going to allow one group to do something, they should allow another group to do it.”

The email sent to parents, students and staff Tuesday referenced March’s walkout, and said officials appreciated the involvement parents had in talking with their children about walkouts.

The district said anyone walking out “to protest various issues” will face discipline unless called out by their parents.

The district wrote ahead of the gun legislation walkout: “As a school district, we would never endorse a walkout that disrupts the educational process; however, we do want to support our students as they peacefully demonstrate.”

Ahmann said district administrators spoke with him while he sat outside Wednesday. He could not be reached to comment on whether he received any discipline. District 155 director of communications Shannon Podzimek said the district cannot comment on student disciplinary matters.

Students did not participate Wednesday because they don’t want to be punished, Ahmann said.

“This is a classic example of a school district that is used to being able to implement its power to bully students into submission,” he said. “I happen to be someone who won’t stand for it, but there is a limited group of students that are able to recognize that.”

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