Ohio High School Student Says He Was Suspended For Not Walking Out During National Walkout Day

Jacob Shoemaker claims he received a one-day suspension for refusing to participate.

student suspended walkout
John Locher / AP Images

Jacob Shoemaker claims he received a one-day suspension for refusing to participate.

An Ohio high school student claims he was suspended for not partaking in the walkout over gun violence earlier this week, but school officials are saying that isn’t true.

Hilliard Davidson student Jacob Shoemaker says he was suspended when he chose to stay inside of his classroom rather than join the group of students protesting, or sit with another group of students who chose not to protest inside of a study hall, according to ABC 6 On Your Side.

Shoemaker feels that selecting either option would’ve meant choosing a side in the gun debate currently waging through the country; something he, as a high school student, feels doesn’t have a place in his environment.

“It’s the least political protest that exists. The thing that I was protesting was politics in the classroom. I feel it has no place in a school, in a district, anywhere,” Jacob says.

Jacob’s father, Scott, says he was notified of his son’s decision on Tuesday to remain in class.

“The biggest problem, Dad, is that there shouldn’t be politics in the classroom,” Jacob told his father. “I may just sit in my seat. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the least intrusive of the choices I’ve been given.”

Mr. Shoemaker said that he gave his son his full support, but warned him that there could be consequences that came his way.

Surely enough, the next day, Jacob was handed the slip notifying him of his suspension. The reasoning? “Student refused to follow instructions,” so says the Columbus Dispatch.

student suspended walkout
An Ohio high school student claims he was suspended for not participating in National Walkout Day. Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photos

Hilliard district spokeswoman Stacie Raterman says that no such thing occurred — not only was Jacob not suspended for his choice to remain in class, but none of the students who did participate were reprimanded, either. She couldn’t get into deeper reasoning, however, as federal student privacy laws stopped her from fully expressing the reason for Jacob’s suspension.

“I can say that our students were given two options: one, attend the gathering or two, have a study hall,” Raterman said in an email. “We are responsible for the safety of our students; we can’t allow students to be unsupervised. The study hall was our way of making sure our students were safe and supervised.”

A friend of Jacob’s reportedly shared the notice online, which was picked up thousands of times. In a cruel twist of fate, Jacob’s father received thousands of phone calls from angry supporters who mistook his phone number for the school principal’s.