Student Participation in Public Demonstrations

Adopted July 2006 – Reviewed and deemed relevant May 2016 – Community Concerns Commission

California State PTA recognizes that organized demonstrations can increase public awareness of important issues and generate public will to bring about change. Student participation in public demonstrations provides real-life connections to classroom civics lessons and allows students to express their beliefs in a positive and meaningful way. Teachers and administrators can enhance student learning by exploring issues through classroom discussion and after-school forums.

California State PTA believes a school’s environment must provide a positive learning environment and physical safety for all students. While California State PTA supports the rights of students to express their beliefs on campus through organized demonstrations, care must be taken to insure that the orderly operation of the school is not disrupted and the physical safety of students is not threatened. Leaving during school hours to attend an off-campus demonstration places the student outside the safety zone of the school and unnecessarily jeopardizes that school’s education funding.

PTA believes parents and teachers are instrumental in helping students develop the skills for being responsible and caring citizens, and they should encourage students to find additional advocacy opportunities, including but not limited to:

  • Participating in peaceful demonstrations when school is not in session;
  • Visiting with legislative representatives;
  • Drafting petitions, getting them signed by students, parents and teachers, and delivering them to policymakers;
  • Writing articles for school papers;
  • Lobbying at school board meetings and asking community, youth advocates and experts to join them;
  • Organizing letter-writing campaigns;
  • Organizing press conferences and/or writing letters to the editor.
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