Ohio Student Stayed In Class For Walkout; Why He Was Suspended
Students at Hilliard Davidson High School were given the choice of gathering outside or having a study hall. One student stayed in class.
By Feroze Dhanoa, Patch National Staff | Mar 17, 2018 11:37 am ET | Updated Mar 17, 2018 2:37 pm ET
HILLIARD, OH — A high school student in Ohio was suspended by his school on the day of the national school walkouts, when students across the country walked out of their classrooms to demand change after the shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead. The Ohio student's suspension note was shared widely across social media and some believed he was suspended for not participating while others apparently thought he was suspended for walking out. But his suspension was for a different reason.
Jacob Shoemaker, 18, a 12th grader at Hilliard Davidson High School, chose to stay inside the classroom when the walkouts took place. The Hilliard school district said each of its three high schools planned memorial events to show support for the Parkland students and claimed the events were not political in nature. Students who chose not to participate could remain in the building at a location that was being supervised by school personnel.
The boy's father, Scott Shoemaker, wrote in a Facebook post that his son felt like he was being forced to make a political decision at school.
"Jacob felt he was forced to make a political decision at school, but refrained," Shoemaker wrote. "This was not the first time we have had problems with politics in the classroom as many of you are well aware."
Shoemaker told IndeOnline his son felt like he would be making a political statement about guns by walking out and he also felt he would be making a political statement if he decided to go where the non-protesters were told to go. So Jacob decided to stay in the classroom instead.
"As a district, we are required to supervise students during the school day. We do not leave students unattended in classrooms," the Hilliard school district said in a statement. "This is the same practice our district implements when students opt out of other school programs or activities. We provide an alternative, supervised location."
Jacob was suspended for "failing to follow instructions to either join students outside or those in the study hall," according to IndeOnline.
A Hilliard school district spokeswoman told the paper no students were suspended for not walking out. She added that students were given the option of either gathering outside or having a study hall.
In a lengthy statement posted online, the school district said well under 50 percent of the student population actually chose to participate in the gatherings.
"The majority of students were comfortable and confident in not participating in these gatherings," the district said.
According to IndeOnline, Jacob took a photo of the note and shared it with a friend who shared it online. The note had Scott Shoemaker's number on it and it prompted a flood of messages to him. Some people thought his son was suspended for walking out, and angry comments accumulated, including some that mistook Scott for the principal. He says he also got a couple death threats.