High schools threatened students over anti-gun walkouts. MIT’s response is everything

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The nation’s high schoolers have one less thing to worry about as the debate over whether to arm their teachers to protect them from school shootings rages on. If they’re suspended or disciplined for protesting in favor of gun control, they won’t need to worry about their college admissions.

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A Texas superintendent threatened to suspend any high schoolers who walk out over gun control protests. High school students have been planning on social media to coordinate a walk out on the morning of March 24 in protest.

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The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s dean of admissions issued a statement today assuring high schoolers already granted admission to the class of 2022 they don’t have to worry about discipline for protesting affecting their enrollment status. He also promised younger high school students thinking about applying that they don’t have to choose between protesting for what’s right and their college acceptance.

Stu Schmill, the Dean of Admissions wrote a blog post addressing the issue.

“We believe students should follow compasses over maps, pursuing points of direction rather than specific destinations and trusting they will end up where they belong,” Schmill wrote. “As such, we always encourage students to undertake whatever course of action in life is most meaningful to, and consistent with, their own principles, and not prioritize how it might impact their college applications.”

MIT, like many colleges and universities, considers academics, discipline and civic engagement when looking at applicants. Schmill said that civic responsibility is best learned by doing, and that protesting for better gun laws is exactly the kind of thing future MIT students should be doing.

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Nikolas Cruz shot 17 of his classmates with an AR-15 rifle on Valentine’s Day. He could face the death penalty for the crime.

This is the latest in a string of mass shootings – a gun went off in an Los Angeles classroom just last week, a gunman opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, killing over 50 people and injuring nearly 500 last year, a terrorist opened fire on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando almost two years ago.

The public has tired of the ritual Republican call for thoughts and prayers in the wake of these outbreaks of violence and the Democrats’ typically impotent calls for stricter gun control. This time, the survivors of the shooting, high school students, are speaking out and calling explicitly for something tangible to be done about the ease of access to guns in America.

The student survivors of the Parkland shooting have been organizing and speaking out nonstop since the Valentine’s Day Massacre. They’re planning a march on Washington set for March 24 that could see half a million in attendance.

Finally changing America’s broken policy on gun control should make for one hell of a college entrance essay.

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