When thousands of high school students walked out of their classrooms, Wednesday, some students were left behind. While many of those who remained were standing up for what they believed in, others, like the young man in the image above, simply wanted to stay out of the heated political debate about guns.
And for his trouble, Jacob Shoemaker was suspended. To be clear, the senior at Hilliard Davidson High School in Hilliard, Ohio wasn’t suspended becasue he didn’t walk out. He was suspended because he stayed in the classroom.
Shoemaker didn’t want to participate in the debate, at all. The students at his school that stayed behind gathered together. The assumption was that those who wanted to protest gun violence would walk out. Those that stayed supported the other side. But what about those who wanted to stay out of the debate altogether? They had no place to go. Thus, Shoemaker stayed in his classroom, where he was supposed to have been at that time of the day.
Because he ignored instructions to leave, he was given a one-day out-of-school suspension for “refusing to follow instructions.”
“The school district says it’s responsible for students’ safety and they can’t be unsupervised as the reasoning for the punishment,” The Daily Mail reports.
“I can only confirm that no student was suspended for not walking out, nor were any suspended for walking out,” Hilliard City Schools spokesperson Stacie Raterman said.
“I really didn’t have a choice here,” Jacob said to ABC6. “If you walked out you were with the protest, you were for gun control and anti-gun violence. And if you sat in this pit with all these other people you were pro gun-violence,” he added.
“[Sitting in the classroom] is the least political protest that exists and the thing that I was protesting is politics in the classroom. I feel that it has no place. In a school, in a district, anywhere,” he said.
Scott Shoemaker, Jacob’s father, said reaction wasn’t positive. “Thought I was going to have a normal day yesterday until my son’s story (and my old phone number) went viral and media outlets from all over the country started contacting me,” Scott posted on Facebook.
“Jacob felt he was forced to make a political decision at school, but refrained. This was not the first time we have had problems with politics in the classroom as many of you are well aware.”
“Proud of my son for sticking to his guns and avoiding politics in the school, although the school and the school district were less than thrilled with his decision and probably the unwanted attention that they are getting for the harsh decision that they made,” he said.