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Teacher Put on Leave After Asking: What If Walkout Was Protesting Abortion?

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“I feel like if we were to go to school and say something like I want to walk out maybe for abortion rights, then you know they probably wouldn’t let us because that’s more of a conservative push. But someone wants to say let’s walk out for gun control then the school’s going to go with it because it’s more of a popular view,” student Nick Wade told CBS13 Sacramento.

Wade’s statement may have been given weight by his school, Rocklin High School in California, who suspended history teacher Julianne Benzel.

According to CBS13:

She says it was only appropriate to talk to her class about the politics of organized protests, ahead of the school walkout.

But she says the school disagreed with her views and told her to stay home Wednesday morning.

“We had a dialogue in class about it in Thursday and Friday. And today I received the call. So I am aghast,” said 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.

She says the administration didn’t talk to her about her lecture, last week.

But 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.

The Rocklin School District provided a statement on the situation reading in part:

“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.”

Lawyers are now getting involved and it will be very interesting to see how the school district explains its actions in this situation.

For more, check out CBS13.

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