Why did teacher fail a student who participated in school walkout?
Originally posted on msn.com by Don Sweeney
A Los Gatos, Calif., math and science teacher says the U.S. Constitution justifies his decision to fail a student on a quiz for leaving class Wednesday for the National School Walkout, despite earlier promises from the superintendent and principal that students would not be punished for participating.
“When a publicly funded school promotes one side of a highly divisive political issue, we undermine the very constitution that protects the right we so cherish,” David Kissner, a math and science teacher at C.T. English Middle School, told The Mercury News on Sunday.
The National School Walkout encouraged high school and college students to leave class for 17 minutes Wednesday to honor the lives lost in a Parkland, Fla., school shooting Feb. 14 and to demand stronger gun laws. Tens of thousands of students across the U.S. participated in the event, some with permission from their schools and some without.
The Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary School District in Santa Clara, south of San Jose, had encouraged students to take part in the walkout.
“I did instruct teachers and school staff to not penalize any students who chose to walk out or give extra credit to anyone who did,” Superintendent Corey Kidwell told KNTV. But the father of a girl in Kissner’s middle school class said the teacher held a pop quiz during the walkout. His daughter finished as much of the quiz as possible before leaving class for the walkout, but Kissner refused to accept her test and gave her a failing grade, the father told the station.
“Never pull a pop quiz and penalize the kids that wanted to exercise their First Amendment rights,” he said. The father told KNTV he’s pulling his daughter from Kissner’s class and appealing the failing grade on the quiz.
Kissner denied making the quiz a surprise, telling The Mercury News that he warned students in advance there would be a test in honor of “Pi Day,” an unofficial holiday celebrated on March 14, when the date makes up the first three numbers of pi. He said the decision not to punish students for the protest Wednesday violated district policy.
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