Shawnee Mission says no students will be punished over National Student Walkouts, board calls special meeting for Monday to provide update

The district said Thursday that “no student has or will be punished for participating in the walkouts.”

The Shawnee Mission Board of Education will convene for a special meeting Monday in part to give administrators a chance to communicate about the status of their investigation into issues that surrounded the National School Walkout demonstrations April 20.

The school board will meet Monday at 6 p.m. to give an update on investigations into the student walkouts April 20.

The announcement that the district will hold the meeting Monday, two weeks ahead of the regularly scheduled meeting for the month on May 21, comes after the district responded to a complaint by the ACLU of Kansas regarding censorship of students’ speeches. The ACLU had set a deadline of Thursday at 5 p.m. for the district to communicate how it planned to address the alleged violation of students’ First Amendment rights. In a letter delivered earlier this week, the district said it needed more time to investigate the issues before giving a detailed response.

The district did, however, say on Thursday that punishment was off the table for students who participated in the demonstrations.

“No student has or will be punished for participating in the walkouts,” said Shawnee Mission Director of Communications Shawna Samuel.

SM North students who led an unauthorized protest on school grounds following the school-sanctioned demonstration earlier that day said administrators had told them they could face discipline for their participation in that protest. As of this week they had not heard definitively whether they would be punished or not.

In addition to an update on the investigation into the walkout issues, Monday’s board agenda includes an update on district finances and the legislatures K-12 funding bill, the process for this month’s graduation ceremonies, and approval of a revised version of incoming superintendent Michael Fulton’s contract. The meeting convenes at 6 p.m.