“We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved,” the post read. “All will be suspended for three days and parent notes will not alleviate the discipline.”
Many college admissions teams have published statements in support of protesting students. Tulane University was one of the first institutions to speak out about the issue.
Jeff Schiffman, director of admissions at Tulane University, posted in the Tulane admissions blog to calm the fears of prospective students.
“We will not penalize students for standing up for what they believe or for making opinions known through peaceful protests,” his post said.
Schiffman was nervous about posting the article because, at the time, they were only part of a handful of institutions that had published statements on high school student protests.
“For us, it’s important for students to know across the country that if there is a cause that they are passionate about, we want them to know that they are free to do that,” Schiffman said in an interview. “We also want them to know that if there are repercussions in school because of it, we would be willing to overlook those in the admission process.
Schiffman said he thinks many students hold themselves back from demonstrating because of the college admissions process. He stressed the importance of students standing up for the causes they support.
"We very much believe that students should be allowed to voice their opinions on all causes, whether that be pro-life or pro-choice, or whether that be Black Lives Matter, or whether that be gun restrictions,” he said.
Organizations like the ACLU have offered support for students facing disciplinary action in their high schools due to attending a protest. The National ACLU is holding a training call Thursday to inform students of their rights when protesting.
“While school officials may discipline students for missing class, they can’t punish students more harshly because they are walking out to express their political views or because officials don’t agree with their message,” said Chris Brook, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
The N.C. ACLU has offered legal support to parents and students facing disciplinary action.
“Officials should remember that even when they are within their rights to discipline students, it doesn’t mean that they should,” Brook said. “We encourage any students who are harshly disciplined for engaging in political walk-outs to contact the ACLU for help.”
On Tuesday, UNC admissions issued a statement from Steve Farmer, vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admission, and joined the growing number of institutions willing to overlook disciplinary actions due to protesting.
“Participation in non-violent civil protest and peaceful expression does not harm a candidate’s chances with UNC-Chapel Hill,” Farmer said.