Why School Walkouts are Elitist
by Susan Basko, esq.
See also: High School Protest Rights
A school walkout means students walk out during school. This is tolerated differently in wealthy white schools than it is in schools where most students are poor, Hispanic, Black, and/ or immigrants.
Wealthier white schools may use a walkout as a teaching moment. The principal or teachers might endorse or participate.
Most Hispanic and Black schools have much stricter rules and policies. These usually cite "gang" activity as the reason for much stricter rules and increased punishments.
Schools within the exact same school district may (and often do) have different rules for schools that are predominantly Hispanic or Black. These rules are often hard to locate and may be disseminated only within the school, or not disseminated.
Walking out or advocating for a walkout in a Hispanic or Black school can result in expulsion or even arrest. Many such schools do not even allow for flyers to be passed in or near the school.
In addition, students from lower economic homes will have much harder times getting legal help. There is no financial or social incentive for the school to be lenient. There aren't usually lawyers in the students' family social circles.
Also, many Hispanic and Black students who walk out are, in fact, walking out into dangerous neighborhoods, where danger of being shot or beaten up exists on a daily basis.
Also, many Hispanic students may have immigration issues, or their parents may -- which makes any arrest or school trouble much riskier, especially now.
There are many other reasons - but basically, school walkouts are elitist and those who are from Hispanic or Black schools disproportionately face consequences.
In addition, even Saturday marches can be a burden on poorer students, who may not be able to afford transportation, may face danger in travel, and may be expected to work or care for siblings on weekends. It can help if buses or transportation can be provided.
If you want all students to have a fair chance to participate in a protest, don't hold it on a school day and don't run a walkout. Walkouts are elitist.