(ANTIMEDIA) Hillard, OH — An Ohio high school student says he was suspended after refusing to participate in the national student walkouts protesting gun violence on Wednesday. Though he was given the option to either attend the demonstration at his school or go to an alternate study hall, he refused both and was reprimanded for not following instructions, a punishment his father believes was too harsh.
Jacob Shoemaker, a senior at Hillard Davidson high school, told local outlet 10TV that he felt the protests were too political and did not want to participate. “He said he stayed in the classroom to work on school work and said he knew there could be consequences for his decision,” 10TV reported, adding that he was willing to accept those consequences.
According to a report by the Associated Press, a friend of Jacob Shoemaker shared his citation on social media, and it attracted outrage while spurring the confusion and misinformation that is increasingly familiar in the spread of news on the internet. Jacob’s father, Scott Shoemaker, says “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 and had to consider switching phone numbers.”
Regardless, the school has denied claims that Jacob was suspended for not participating in the walkout. Stacie Raterman, Director of Communications for Hillard Davidson, said “the information in the post is false and no students were suspended for participating or not participating in the walkout.” Rather, she told 10TV that “their policy is they cannot leave students unattended in the building for security reasons,” adding that, as 10TV summarized, “students who went to the commons area could use it as a study hall.”
Jacob and Scott maintain that the letter posted on social media is real.
Though the school may not have suspended Jacob for refusing to participate – or not participate – in the protests, what is more telling is that he was suspended because he “refused to follow instructions,” according to his suspension notice — a reason that highlights the ever-increasing authoritarian nature of modern public schooling.
Rather than letting a student sit unattended in a classroom, the school insisted on forcing him to comply with two options, never allowing him the self-agency to make his own decision. Similarly, students in other parts of the country were reportedly punished for choosing to participate in the protests.
As schools increasingly devolve into prison-like institutions, whether in the form of forced pledges of allegiance, growing police officer presence, or mounting surveillance and security measures, it should come as no surprise that popular search terms on Google indicate just how much students loathe educational institutions:
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