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Superintendent threatens suspensions for student walkouts protesting gun violence

Nationwide walkouts have taken place in response to the shooting at a Florida high school that ended with 17 people dead. A superintendent in Needville, TX, threated suspensions for students that took part in protests. (Source: Needville ISD) Nationwide walkouts have taken place in response to the shooting at a Florida high school that ended with 17 people dead. A superintendent in Needville, TX, threated suspensions for students that took part in protests. (Source: Needville ISD)

NEEDVILLE, TX (RNN) - A Houston-area school superintendent warned students they would be suspended if they took part in walkouts happening across the U.S. in protest of gun violence.

Superintendent Curtis Rhodes posted a message to the Needville High School Facebook page Tuesday.

"Please be advised that the Needville (Independent School District) will not allow a student demonstration during school hours for any type of protest or awareness!!" Rhodes said. "Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for three days and face all the consequences that come along with an out-of-school suspension.

"Life is all about choices, and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative. We will discipline no matter it is one, 50 or 500 students."

The post has since been deleted, but people have continued to respond on the page. While some voiced support for Rhodes' comments, others criticized them.

"I say yes to all the students who exercise their Constitutional right to peaceful protest," one person wrote. "I, too, hope every one of them has the courage to walk out. The entire school district will be shut down for three days and these kids will have proudly taken their first real lesson in civics."

"Learning morality is more important than obedience to society," another posted.

Heidi Li Feldman, a Georgetown law professor, told Washington Post that Rhodes' threat was a "quintessential First Amendment violation."

Multiple events are being organized in protest of school shootings and other violence, including the Women's March-supported National School Walkout. The group is calling for people to walk out of school at 10 a.m. March 14 for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Students in Florida were joined by others across the country Wednesday in walkouts. March for Our Lives is scheduled for March 24 in Washington, DC.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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