Are schools in California forcing kids to walk out on March 14?
False. This rumor, retweeted across Twitter, is stoking flames.
California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson Letter
California Department of Education- Cynthia Butler- Information Officer
Erik Pacheco Twitter account
Rouge Right- Gift Shop
There is a lot of discussion about the national student walkout scheduled for March 14, like whether kids have the right to leave campus or if it's an excused absence.
Others are asking if students have the right not to walkout and remain in class.
Viewer Keith Holman asked WUSA9's Verify team to fact check a popular tweet claiming a school in California was making the walkout mandatory. The tweet originated from the handle @erikjpacheco and has since been deleted.
"I am a student in a California public school. We are being forced to particpate in the #MarchForOurLives walkout by our administrators. @KTLA8:30 PM 09 Mar 18
Our Verify team went straight to the California Department of Education.
"You are the first person to my knowledge that has called and asked if walkouts are mandatory," said Cynthia Butler, a spokesperson for the state's education department. "The CDA is not overseeing the walkouts, but State Superintendent Tom Torlakson supports the students' rights to exercise their First Amendment rights."
Students can't be forced to participate in the demonstration. State code § 48950 protects free speech.
Schools in the D.C. area also are showing support for students, acknowledging that the walkout is completely voluntary.
We dug deeper.
The Twitter account that penned the viral rumor is a self-defined member of the GOP and National Rifle Association. The person behind the account said he currently works for two conservative news sites. One of the sites sells a shirt that says "It's okay to be white."