HILLARD, Ohio – An Ohio high school student said he tried to stay apolitical during the National Walkout Day over gun violence. Yet his decision to remain neutral drew punishment. He was suspended for his choice to remain in a classroom instead of joining protests or the alternative, going to study hall.
Jacob Shoemaker, a senior at Hilliard Davidson High School, said he didn’t want to take sides in the gun-control debate consuming the country. If he went outside for the walkout, he said, he would be supporting gun control. If he stayed in the common area of the school, he said, he would be seen as supporting gun violence and disrespecting the 17 lives lost in the Parkland, Fla. high school shooting the month before, reported Fox News.
Jacob had met with the school’s principal on Tuesday, a day before the rally, for about an hour to find out what exactly the walkout was supporting. But he said the principal reportedly told him it was for the “students to express themselves.”
Jacob’s father, Scott Shoemaker, said his son was just trying to stay neutral. Moreover, he did not believe he did anything wrong.
“Politics [doesn’t] belong in the school,” he said. “Students shouldn’t be pressured into taking a side.”
The story went viral after Jacob sent a photo of his out-of-school suspension citation to one of his friends, who posted it on social media.
Consequently, both the school and the Shoemakers have received death threats and hate messages.
Stacie Raterman, director of communications, said the information in the post is false and no students were suspended for participating or not participating in the walkout, reported 10tv.com.
But is she simply parsing words?
The district says it’s responsible for students’ safety and they can’t be unsupervised, which is understandable. Yet this student was apparently not “safe” by sitting in class by himself. Where was his teacher? Was he/she engaged in the walkout or assigned to study hall with the other teachers and students?
So if the masses engage in civil disobedience, no problem. But the one who wants to camp on his perception of “middle ground,” which is in his assigned classroom, it is deemed insubordinate and “failing to follow instructions.”
Conservatives took to Twitter to show their support of Jacob.
Hey @ACLU are you going to represent Hilliard Davidson HS, Ohio student Jacob Shoemaker who was punished for exercising HIS right to not participate in the “student organized” walkout?
Or, b/c his view does not fit a narrative, it’s not entitled to same protection?
— Al Marsh (@almarsh71) March 16, 2018
Jacob Shoemaker a Hilliard Davidson High School student was SUSPENDED for staying in class during walkouts!
Call his Principal Aaron Cookson at (614) 921-7200 to show your support for Jacob!
RT to spread the word!https://t.co/ajV2ytzsv3
— Thomas Hern (@ThomasMHern) March 16, 2018
Scott Shoemaker said his son was just trying to be introspective, and he wasn’t acting out.
“He didn’t do anything to deserve this,” he said. “He didn’t ask for this.”