For national gun control walkouts, colleges show support unseen during Black Lives Matter protests

Middle and high school students across the country plan to walk out of classes Wednesday as part of a national call for gun control measures that might prevent mass shootings, like the one that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

For the National School Walkout, many of these students are skipping classes under threat of punishment from principals and superintendents. However, college-bound high schoolers are being supported by more than 200 colleges and universities, including several Ivy League and top-rated institutions, which have pledged not to hold suspensions against applicants who peacefully participate.

Objectively, it’s hard to find fault with this response. The Supreme Court affirmed students’ right to free speech without fear of undue reprimand in 1969. But there’s one thing that some activists are struggling to overlook in colleges’ reactions to the #NeverAgain movement, which was sparked by predominantly white and affluent high school students in Parkland. Almost none of these institutions were so publicly supportive of the predominantly black and brown high school students who walked out of classes to protest police brutality — and to declare that “Black lives matter” — just a few years prior.

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