Julianne Benzel, a history teacher in California, opened a discussion with her students about the politics of protest and questioning the school walkout… and was prompt put on leave.
“We had a dialogue in class about it in Thursday and Friday. And today I received the call. So I am aghast,” Benzel told CBS13.
“And so I just kind of used the example which I know it’s really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time—a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided ‘I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes’ and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?” she said.
“I didn’t get any backlash from my students. All my students totally understood that there could not be a double standard,” she said.
“I feel like if we were to go to school and say something like I want to walk out maybe for abortion rights, then you know they probably wouldn’t let us because that’s more of a conservative push. But someone wants to say let’s walk out for gun control then the school’s going to go with it because it’s more of a popular view,” said Wade.
“If you’re going to allow students to walk up and get out of class without penalty then you have to allow any group of students that wants to protest,” she said.
A spokeswoman provided a statement reading in part:
“A Rocklin High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave due to several complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding today’s student-led civic engagement activities.”