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Home Dallas Dallas-area students defend gun protests –

Dallas-area students defend gun protests –


RICHARDSON, Texas (WFAA) — Students who participated in a walkout in protest of gun violence in the Dallas area say they are being punished by the school district for their decision.

The disciplinary action by the Richardson High School could require some students to repeat classes.

“I think the closest word is anguish; I feel scared,” said Justin Mitchell, who spent his freshman year learning virtually during the pandemic.

But his sophomore and junior years at Richardson High have been plagued with something else: Anxiety.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I take medicine for it. It’s especially bad at school … it just feels so anxious … like it can happen anywhere, any time.”

Last Thursday, Mitchell joined students across North Texas who staged a walkout to protest gun violence.

But he said after walking out at noon he wasn’t allowed to come back in.

“I think it’s absurd,” Mitchell said. “I think being expelled for that day and not being let back in is absurd.”

Richardson Independent School District principals sent an email to parents last Wednesday saying students who walked out would not be allowed to return and would receive an unexcused absence.

The one Mitchell received Thursday positions him to possibly have to repeat classes due to the district’s attendance policy, but he maintains that the absences he had were fueled by his anxiety

“It was either sickness or being scared of going to school,” he said.

Allen High School students — who live in the city where a gunman killed eight people at a shopping center on May 6 — also protested Thursday, telling WFAA they were told they’d receive disciplinary action for walking out.

“It’s only when we do things that will get in trouble that they will listen to us,” said student Jordan Roberson. “Our lives are on the line, and I think it’s very worth it.”

Allen ISD told WFAA that students who returned to class did not receive disciplinary action or an unexcused absence.

Plano and Frisco ISDs did not respond to questions about absences and protests.

While Justin Mitchell said he has good grades and isn’t overly worried about having to repeat classes, he says the district sent a message.

“The message I get is: ‘We don’t care. You can walk out all you want, and nothing is going to change,'” he said.