Teachers and school leaders can support students’ right to protest without taking a stand on those views themselves. Defending students’ right to voice their views can help foster civic participation.
Align your response to your existing school/district mission.
Encourage conversations about controversial issues throughout the year. Let students exercise their voices respectfully in school newspapers, podcasts, and YouTube channels, or in student council debates.
At the same time, it’s vital that schools protect students with dissenting views from harassment or bullying.
Support Students’ Civil Rights . . .
“School leaders can articulate that while they support students’ civil rights — including their right to engage in peaceful protest — students’ beliefs are their own. Schools can defend students’ rights to express themselves, without taking a stand on the content of that expression.”
“The school or district’s mission statement can also be a helpful guide as leaders consider how to respond to protest incidents. What are your core values — the set of guiding principles that you’re always talking about? These can provide an essential touchstone as you try to navigate among stakeholders with deeply divided opinions.”