WILLOUGHBY, Ohio -- Dozens of students at Willoughby South High School walked out of class Wednesday to take part in the National Walkout.
Now, they are paying the price.
“I started talking to people and it started to get big. I didn’t expect it to get as big as it did,” said senior Nick Anderson.
Anderson helped organize the walk as a way to remember the victims of the Parkland, Florida, shooting and to protest gun violence.
“I feel like a parent in Parkland could see it and it would mean so much to them. There are all these kids in Ohio, kids everywhere, they are doing it for them,” said Anderson.
However, Anderson got a letter from the Willoughby-Eastlake City School District stating the walkouts were seen as unexcused absences, also known as cutting class.
The punishment for walking out is detention.
“I can deal with the afternoon detention for what they are standing up for. They are standing up for something they believe in; it’s a big movement and they are trying to make a difference,” said Chris Anderson, father.
Superintendent Stephen L. Thompson released a statement Thursday saying, “While I understand the rights of our students to peacefully protest, and share their concerns regarding violence, the district does not support the idea of students walking out of school in protest. Repeated walkouts disrupt the educational process and compromise student safety. We cannot continue to place students in vulnerable conditions because of suggestions made by national political groups.”
The district also adds students were allowed to walk out back on February 21 and observe a moment of silence Wednesday.