A school district in New Jersey plans to punish students who participated in the National School Walkout on Wednesday with two days of out-of-school-suspension.
According to MyCentralNewJersey.com, officials from the Sayreville Public School District will be punishing students who participated in the nationwide walkout against gun violence on Wednesday, March 14, in honor of the 17 students and adults killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sayreville Board of Education president Kevin Ciak claims that participation in the walkout is considered "willful disobedience" and a "failure to follow administrative direction."
Among the 1,8000 students enrolled in the school district, only a handful participated, many of the students claiming that they were aware they would be facing suspension for taking part in the movement.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said schools can punish students for missing class for walkouts, but the punishment should only be because students are missing school — it cannot be a harsher punishment because the students participated in a protest.
Colleges across the country have also come forward to say that students who are punished for protesting will not have it held against them when applying for enrollment, the New York Post reports. Among those schools are Harvard and Yale, both of whom released statements supporting the national walkouts.
Over 3,100 walkout events were registered, according to ENOUGH National School Walkout organizers. The walkouts took place across the nation, in states like Maine, Maryland, North Dakota, North Carolina, Washington, Hawaii, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Groups from around the world have also signed up, including in Australia, Israel, Switzerland, Germany and Mexico.
The event, which began at 10 a.m. across every time zone, lasted 17 minutes — one minute for each of the victims in the Feb. 14 massacre in Parkland.
Viacom cable networks "went dark" for 17 minutes Wednesday in support of the walkout and to honor the victims of the February shooting. In a blog posted on Viacom's website, the network said the act is part of an initiative to support the young people who are raising their voices to demand action in light of the attack last month.
The brief blackout affected all of Viacom's cable channels, including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, TV Land and Paramount Network, among others.
Viacom also plans to drive awareness of March For Our Lives, a rally scheduled in Washington, D.C on March 24, through their own coverage and on-the-ground initiatives leading up to the national event.