33 New York colleges pledge prospective students will not be penalized for anti-gun violence walkout

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With high school students on Long Island and nationwide preparing to walk out of school on Wednesday to protest gun violence, more than 200 colleges and universities have pledged students’ admission prospects will not be affected by any discipline they might face at their schools for participating.

The pledge to not hold students’ protests against their chances at admission, at press time, had been made by 33 schools in New York state, including Adelphi University in Garden City and Hofstra University in Hempstead. 

According to the National Association of Admissions Counselors, other colleges in the greater metropolitan area that have made the pledge include:

• Barnard College

• City University of New York

• Columbia University

• Cornell University

• Fordham University

• Manhattan College

• New York University

• Pace University

• Sarah Lawrence College

• The New School

For a complete list of schools, including a list by state, click here

" We would not take account of school discipline in a circumstance of peaceful protest on a pressing matter of national debate,” NYU officials wrote in a statement.

The number of schools pledging their support may provide some reassurance from students on the fence about participating in the demonstration Wednesday, in which students nationwide are expected to walk out for 17 minutes in memory of the 17 people who died at the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Students at Sanford H. Calhoun High School, in Merrick, and others across Nassau County, have indicated that they will participate in the demonstration. School districts, however, have been largely silent on how they will handle the walkouts on a policy level.

The New York State School Boards Association issued a statement on its website warning districts choosing not to discipline students who participate that they could set a precedent for other disobedience of school policies.

The NYSSBA warned districts against explicitly supporting the walkouts.

“It would be ill-advised for a school district to provide such support, based upon the established principle that school districts have no express authority to engage in political activities,” NYSSBA officials said. “Accordingly, school district sponsorship of such activities would not appear to be a viable option.”

New York State United Teachers, the statewide union, has not endorsed the March 14 walkout, but is encouraging educators to wear orange that day. Orange is the color of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.   

Look for coverage of the school walkouts on Wednesday here at www.liherald.com.