Walking Out In Peaceful Protest

Do you have a right to walk out of school in peaceful protest? 

Yes, you have a right to walk out in protest. The First Amendment defends your rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly — all expressions of a right to walk out.

Martin Luther King and civil rights leaders helped young people to participate in bus boycotts, protest against segregated lunch counters and water fountains, create their own freedom schools, and walk out of segregated schools. 

But, school officials have a responsibility to stop the protest if it disrupts the school.  They can discipline you for missing class, and even suspend you if the disruption is too much.

March for Our Lives was a student-led demonstration in response to the mass shootings at the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.   Students walked out of school and organized a national march in support of gun control in more than 800 schools and 2 million students, making it one of the largest protests in American history.


  • What are my First Amendment rights in school?
  • What are my school policies on speaking out or walking out in protest?
  • Can my school discipline me for participating in a walkout?
  • What are your rights and duties as a student?
  • Do students have constitutional rights in school, or do they leave their rights at the schoolhouse door?
  • When have youth participation in protest demonstrations in the past, and what can we learn from them?
  • What is your classroom, school or district’s policy on walkouts? 
  • What issues do you care about enough to participate in — or even organize — a school walkout or other form of protest demonstration?
  • If you wanted to organize a protest demonstration or school walkout in your school, what steps would you take?





The academy aims to prepare a new generation of civil rights leaders. For more information contact Barry Checkoway (barrych@umich.edu). #youthcivilrights