California high school teacher on leave after questioning ‘double standard’ in walkouts

Greg Nash

A high school teacher in California was placed on leave on Wednesday after she questioned what she said was a “double standard” in the nationwide school walkouts. 

“We had a dialogue in class about it in Thursday and Friday. And today I received the call. So I am aghast,” Rocklin High School teacher Julianne Benzel told the CBS affiliate in Sacremento.

Benzel said she did not discourage students from taking part in the walkout. 

{mosads}“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 told the television station. 

“If you’re going to allow students to walk up and get out of class without penalty then you have to allow any group of students that wants to protest,” she said.

The teacher said she did not hear any backlash from students prior to being put on leave as they understood the larger point that a “double standard” was not acceptable.

A Rocklin School District spokesperson said Benzel was put on paid leave because of “several complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding today’s student-led civic engagement activities.”

Students across the U.S. walked out of classes on Wednesday to protest gun violence in the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month. 

Students are expected to take the protests to Washington, D.C., next week.


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