One of America’s Largest School Districts Gives Students Time Off to Protest

Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia says it has become the first school district to provide excused absences for protest. Students in Fairfax will get one excused absence a year to participate in protests or other “civic engagement activities.”

The new policy is being implemented by one of the largest school districts in the country, beginning January 27. Fairfax School Board member Ryan McElveen, who proposed the policy, believes it could soon spread across the United States.

“It’s a dawning of a new day in student activism, and school systems everywhere are going to have to be responsive to it,” McElveen said, as quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Some California schools have allowed students to participate in demonstrations in the past. 

To participate in a demonstration or other civic engagement activity, Fairfax students must have the permission of their parent or guardian. They‘re required to give notice to the school at least two days ahead of time.

Fairfax County Public Schools is comprised of some 188,000 students. The county is located about 18 miles from Washington, D.C.