Walton High School students walk out onto the football field on March 14 as part of a national protest against gun violence that took place in schools across the country. Special to the AJC.

Cobb parents, civil rights group question district’s walkout discipline

Cobb County students who walked out of Walton High School are serving a one-day in-school suspension today, while parents and a civil rights group continue to question how the district handled the protest against gun violence. 

More than 260 Walton students walked out March 14, and students at other Cobb schools also participated. Many received a one-day in-school suspension. 

An attorney for the Cobb County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sent a letter Thursday  to school board chairman Brad Wheeler urging an “immediate cessation” of punishment until “the matter can receive appropriate consideration and correction.” The SCLC has not received a response, said field director Rich Pellegrino. 

Parents have voiced concerns about allegations that some school officials tried to discourage students from participating, reports of disparate consequences at schools, and inconsistent or incomplete answers from the administration about the appeals process and how the discipline might affect a student’s record. Some also contend that suspending students and forcing them to miss instructional time is too harsh a penalty for a peaceful demonstration. The district has declined to answer a reporter’s questions about the discipline.