LCPS Position on Student Walkouts

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is committed to providing a caring, safe and inclusive environment while respecting the rights of students to express varying perspectives without interfering with school safety or disrupting instruction. The tragedy in Broward County, Florida, on February 14, 2018, and other losses of life on school campuses across the nation over several years have driven increased interest in student-led civic engagement including school walkouts. Our goal in responding to walkout plans and other forms of peaceful assembly is to focus on teaching and learning while maintaining student and staff safety.

 

We do not support walkouts or other activities that interrupt instruction, disrupt school, and/or cause a threat to safety. Students who leave class without permission, disrupt school activities, or otherwise disregard the code of conduct will receive the appropriate disciplinary action. Consequences for participating in these types of activities will depend on the context of the situation and the specifics of the student behavior. While students have the right to freedom of expression, they do not have the right to disrupt instruction or create an unsafe environment. 

 

Please know that principals are collaborating with staff and students to provide opportunities for students to express diverse and opposing opinions in a manner that does not disrupt learning. Principals also are working with teachers and students to develop curriculum-related activities during the instructional day that allow for varying and opposing points of view.

 

The philosophy underlying our measured approach to student walkouts that disrupt student learning or safety is reflected in the LCPS Students Rights and Responsibilities (p. 13): “students may exercise their right to freedom of expression through speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and other lawful means provided such expression does not cause substantial disruption or is not otherwise lewd, obscene, or profane. Principals may provide reasonable times and appropriate places for students to exercise this right. However, the exercise of this right may be revoked whenever it becomes disruptive to the school program or interferes with the rights of other students to pursue their studies or activities or to express their ideas, or reasonably leads the principal to forecast disruption or interference.”

 

Please contact your student’s school with any questions or concerns. By working together, LCPS and the community can maintain an inclusive, safe and supportive learning environment for each student.