Belvidere High School Student Protest Results in Suspension


Anne Rutherford, Reporter

The Belvidere High School students have recently put their student rights to the test. On November 8, 2019, more than 20 students were suspended from school after their participation in a student-led protest. 


One of the many difficulties teachers face is their class attendance. Students are often found skipping their classes and spend the class period roaming the halls and hiding in non-monitored areas of the school. For this reason, the administration staff has taken it upon themselves to have random hall sweeps. Any student seen wandering around when they’re supposed to be in class will face repercussions. The controversial punishment implemented takes those cutting class to a holding site that they call “Jail”. At this “Jail”, students are forced to write a paper on why skipping class is detrimental to their education. 


This new punishment system has been met with much hostility from the students. Upon entering school, students do not lose their rights to the First Amendment, or freedom of speech. They have the right to speak out, hand out flyers and start petitions. As long as they don’t disrupt or violate any school functioning, they are well in their right. However, the school cannot discipline students more harshly because of the political message behind their actions. 


On the day of the incident, the students skipped class to participate in the protest. Regardless of whether or not the students believed strongly in the topic or if they just wanted an excuse to cut class, every participant was suspended. Whether or not the suspension was ethically moral, students should not be discouraged and continue to exercise their rights.