According to administrators at Rocklin High School in California, it’s just fine for students to walk out of class for 17 minutes to participate in a gun control protest. It’s NOT okay, though, for their teachers to express an adverse opinion on said walkout. Not only is it not okay, discovered history teacher Julianne Benzel, but it will be actively punished. Benzel found out as much this week when school officials advised her to stay home on Wednesday and enjoy some time on paid administrative leave.
All because she expressed the “wrong” opinion.
From CBS Sacramento:
“We had a dialogue in class about it in Thursday and Friday. And today I received the call. So I am aghast,” said Julianne Benzel.
Benzel says she never discouraged her students from participating in the national school walk out, but she did question whether it’s appropriate for a school to support a protest against gun violence if they’re not willing to support all protests.
“And so I just kind of used the example which I know it’s really controversial, but I know it was the best example I thought of at the time—a group of students nationwide, or even locally, decided ‘I want to walk out of school for 17 minutes’ and go in the quad area and protest abortion, would that be allowed by our administration?” she said.
While thousands of students walked out of class, Mrs. Benzel received a letter from her human resources department, informing her she’s being placed on paid administrative leave.
This is absolutely absurd and we hope that Mrs. Benzel has found herself a good attorney. We don’t believe that teachers should be preaching politics to their classes, but unless there was something more to this discussion that we can tell from the reports, that’s not what she was doing. She was raising the (completely legitimate) question about whether or not the school would turn a blind eye to students who walked out of class for a conservative cause rather than one that pleases the masters of liberal academia. Instead of disciplining Benzel, school administrators should have patted her on the back for opening their eyes to this obvious double standard.
“A Rocklin High School teacher has been placed on paid administrative leave due to several complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding today’s student-led civic engagement activities,” said a school board spokesman.
Well, like we said, maybe there’s more to this story than we’ve heard so far. But if this just comes down to a teacher posing some interesting political/philosophical questions to her students (who seem raring to get involved in what is clearly a hot-button political debate), then the school has no business punishing her.
But hey, this is how the left “wins” debates, so we can’t say we’re too surprised.