HILLIARD, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — A Hilliard Davidson High School student’s suspension letter is going viral after Wednesday’s national walkout.
High school senior Jake Shoemaker said the school gave him two options, which included participating in the walkout or staying in a designated area inside the school.
Shoemaker said he felt the two options forced him to pick a side in the gun violence debate. The teen choose instead to stay in a classroom and do school work.
“It’s the least political protest that exists. The thing that I was protesting was politics in the classroom. I feel it has no place in a school, in a district, anywhere,” said Jake Shoemaker.
The student’s choice earned him a one-day suspension. The suspension letter explained part of the reason, “Student refused to follow instructions.”
Hilliard City Schools spokesperson Stacie Raterman said federal privacy laws prevented her from talking about Shoemaker. However, she explained in an email, “I can only confirm that no student was suspended for not walking out, nor were any suspended for walking out.”
The suspension letter went viral online. The phone number for the student’s father was written at the bottom of the letter. Scott Shoemaker said he started getting hundreds of calls from people who thought he was the school principal.
“I’ve had to change my number today. It has not been a fun day for me. But yeah, I’ve had a couple of death threats too. People who thought that I was the one who suspended him and that basically what they would like to do to me,” said Scott Shoemaker.
Both the student and his dad said they don’t want people online to use the teen’s decision to help their own political agenda.
Shoemaker said he warned his son of repercussions. He said he doesn’t think the school punishment was appropriate. He still supports his son’s decision and defends school officials.
“They’re good people. They did what they felt they had to do. I do not agree with the decision and I told them that.”
The high school senior will return to school Friday. The student’s dad said he plans to talk with school officials soon.