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ACLU sues Shawnee Mission schools for censoring student protests

Posted: 3:26 PM, May 31, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-31 20:26:10Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The ACLU of Kansas has filed a lawsuit against the Shawnee Mission School District for allegedly violating students' rights during protests on gun policy. 

SMSD students participated in national school walkout day on April 20 to protest gun violence in schools. 

The ACLU claimed that student journalists covering the event had their cameras seized, student protesters were prohibited from using the words "gun" or "gun violence" and administrators abruptly canceled the event. 

“Students should be learning about the unlawfulness of prior restraint in journalism class, not having it demonstrated by school administrators,” said Lauren Bonds, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas.

Students also claimed that some administrators threatened detention and suspension for participating in the walkout.

The school district released an apology after students brought concerns about censorship at events at Hocker Grove and Shawnee Mission North. It said at the time that officials were reviewing the incident and would lay out policies to ensure it doesn't happen again.

The lawsuit seeks declaratory and injunctive relief – a ruling from the court to stop violating students’ rights.