After Walkout, Cobb Students Await Unnamed Punishments

Noah Clement, a Pope alumnus, and his family demonstrate outside the school.
Noah Clement, a Pope alumnus, and his family demonstrate outside the school.
Credit Lisa Hagen / WABE

Many students left class in school districts that didn’t endorse participation in the walkout Wednesday morning. Cobb County’s school district was one that did not endorse the walkout and told students and parents that demonstrators might face consequences.

Rumors were flying about how bad those consequences might be. Students at Pope High School say they’ve heard athletes could get kicked off sports teams, maybe even expelled.

The only thing that was clear this morning is that students who walked out are afraid of what’s coming.

Shelby Whitmire is one of them.

“I don’t think it’s fair for standing up for something that could hurt or harm us in the long run,” said Whitmire, who believes she may be suspended.

At least three police vehicles were stationed near the school’s entrance as the scheduled walkout hour neared.

Stephanie Clement stood across the street from school property with her family and about a dozen supporters of the walkout. Her sign read “Let’s Empower Our Youth.” Clement’s daughter is one of the student organizers who walked out at Pope. Clement thinks the school system’s policy threatening to punish students had an impact.

“They want to participate, but they’re also concerned with their future and college acceptance and high school graduation. So I really feel like it squelched their voice and their hearts to be able to really decide what they wanted to do,” said Clement.

Cobb County schools has not responded to multiple requests to clarify how or if students will be punished.