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ACLU Puts Illinois High School On Notice For Discriminating Against Pro-Gun Students

"Am I Next? Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws" by Flickr user Lorie Shaull / (CC x 2.0)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is accusing a northern Illinois high school of discriminating against a small group of pro-gun students.

The ACLU sent a letter to Rockton’s Hononegah High School this week, just as many students nationwide are planning school walkouts.

Credit http://www.hononegah.org/

The incident took place during last month’s national walkout: a student and her father felt her first amendment rights were violated because she carried a pro-gun message. The majority of students marched for more gun control.

ACLU attorney Rebecca Glenberg says the pro-gun students were disrespected by keeping their protest separated from the larger group by about 50 yards, and ignoring their demands for equal treatment.

“To separate them so much that one group essentially didn’t get to express their views is excessive,” Glenberg said.

Hononegah assistant superintendent Kim Suedbeck says the students were kept apart at the recommendation of legal counsel, for everyone’s safety. She disputes the ACLU’s version of the story and says she feels both sides had an equal opportunity to get their messages heard.

Glenberg says at a time of political polarization, it’s critical for schools to teach respect for opposing views.

“That role of the public schools right now is urgent and we really hope that schools are taking that obligation seriously,” Glenberg said.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.