The student who kicked off Wednesday’s pro-life walkout on campuses across the country says administrators at his high school aren’t giving him the same accommodations they gave to pro-gun-control students who participated in the National School Walkout last month.
Brandon Gillespie, a student at Rocklin High School in Rocklin, California, said he was inspired to organize the pro-life walkout when his history teacher, Julianne Benzel, was put on administrative leave after she encouraged discussion in her class about whether there is a double standard on school walkouts that promote gun control versus pro-life values.
“If schools, not only just our school and our administration, but across the country are going to allow one group of students to get up during class and walk out to protest one issue, would they still give the same courtesy to another group of students who wanted to protest abortion?” Benzel said in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on March 19.
Gillespie was curious to see if his teacher was right — if there really is a double standard on how media and school administrators treat pro-life students versus pro-gun-control students. He says school administrators slow-walked responses to his requests for accommodations. When he finally did get a response, they essentially told him students participating in Wednesday’s walkout wouldn’t get punished, but also would not receive any of the special perks the March for Our Lives supporters got last month.
“I asked for the same accommodation as the anti-gun protest, that teachers would be flexible in their lesson planning, and also for the availability of equipment that the anti-gun protestors were allowed to use,” Gillespie said in a statement. “I really was not surprised when they told me that they were not going to give me the accommodations and that they were not going to sanction this walkout as they did the previous one. It just confirms for me that there is a political double standard, at least in my school district, but I’m still going to be out there.”
Pro-life students from at least 144 high schools and 53 colleges across the country will walk out of their classrooms this Wednesday for 17 minutes of silence and prayer to mourn the loss of the 10 babies who will be aborted at Planned Parenthood facilities in that span of time.
This pro-life walkout was inspired by the National School Walkout in March, in which students walked out of class for 17 minutes of silence to push for more gun control laws and to honor those who lost their lives at a school shooting in Parkland, Florida earlier this year.
“Every day, Planned Parenthood violently ends the lives of 880 children,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins. “Every day, Planned Parenthood targets this generation in school and online to trap us in their predatory business cycle. And for many of us, every day, we are silent, but Enough is Enough.”
You can view a list of the schools participating here. To participate in the nationwide pro-life walkout, you can register here.