Cuomo: New York schools shouldn't discipline students for walkouts

Cuomo: New York schools shouldn't discipline students for walkouts
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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said on Thursday that New York schools should not discipline students for walkouts after the nationwide school walkouts against gun violence. 

"In the last 24 hours, there have been several reports of New York State schools disciplining students and faculty for participating in yesterday's historic events to stop gun violence. In at least one disturbing incident, it was reported that the school physically blocked the exits to prevent students from demonstrating," Cuomo said in a letter to New York Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. 

"These actions send a terrible message to New York's children and are against constitutional free speech protections. I call on you to use SED's [State Education Department] authority to stop these schools, reverse course and cease any disciplinary actions," he said. 

The Albany Times-Union reported on Wednesday that 38 students received detentions in Schuylerville, N.Y., while roughly 12 students who participated in the walkout in South Glens Falls, N.Y., were directed to write a letter to someone addressing "the importance of respect and addressing school violence," according to South Glens Falls Superintendent Jon Hunter. 

The disciplinary actions against students in the walkout took place outside of New York State as well. 

Sayreville, N.J., school board president Kevin Ciak told The Wall Street Journal that students who walked off of school property would receive two-day detentions.

“Schools don’t have the ability to pick political issues,” Ciak told the publication. “Next week if there were students who wanted to advocate for the Second Amendment, we would need to do the same thing.”

Cuomo took part in the walkouts on Wednesday in New York City.