Tuesday, Leon County, FL School Superintendent Rocky Hanna announced his district will offer excused absences and bus transportation to what is described as a “rally for gun control” at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.
“What better lesson for them to learn firsthand than for them to exercise their freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech,” Hanna said according to a report from the Tallahassee Democrat’s Ryan Dailey.
The rally, part of a series of events set for Wednesday, will include high school students from Parkland, FL’s Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of last week’s mass shooting.
Leon County Schools will excuse absences of students wishing to participate in events occurring at the Capitol on Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
— Leon County Schools (@LeonSchools) February 19, 2018
The Leon County Republican Party has pushed back against Hanna’s decision. In an open letter party chairman Evan Power asked if Hanna would extend this benefit to students seeking to attend rallies for conservative causes.
“I write to you today to ask some questions about your decision to excuse students from classes and to use school resources to transport students to a political rally,” Power wrote. “I appreciate your newfound respect for the student’s constitutional rights of speech and assembly, but ask if this same courtesy will be delivered in circumstances that you do not agree with. Will you also allow students to be excused and use school transportation in the future to attend a rally for educational choice, tax reform, or labor union transparency? In short is this a new policy or just a one-time effort to support an idea that you politically agree with?”
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor