National Lawyers Guild Regional VP to Seattle Public Schools: Support Students’ Right to Protest

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On Friday, January 13, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) sent out an email in which they threatened disciplinary action in the form of unexcused absences against students who plan to participate in Inauguration Day walkouts. As I noted yesterday, the letter’s implication that SPS will coordinate with the Seattle Police is highly troubling. I want to thank Neil Fox, parent of two students and Far West Co-Regional Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild, for his solidarity and tireless advocacy on behalf of those in struggle. See below for his response to SPS.

From: <>
Date: January 13, 2017 at 6:50:08 PM PST
To: <>
Subject: J20 Walkout

I am writing in response to the recent email I received about the planned Jan. 20th walkout.  I am writing as a parent of two high school students and am very upset that the district would attempt to intimidate the exercise of free speech by our young people.  The email’s reference to working in coordination with the Seattle Police Department is highly concerning — when thousands of students want to protest against the fact that a neo-fascist is becoming president on January 20th, your threat to enlist the support of state security forces to monitor the situation is alarming.  The school district, instead, should be consulting with the ACLU, the National Lawyers Guild, or other portions of civil society about protecting our students from state oppression rather than threatening our young people with the police.

Our family fled from right-wing nationalism in Europe and sought sanctuary in this country — a country based on respect for the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.  I want my children and their friends to grow up without fear — without fear that going out into the streets to protest fascism is in any way going to be detrimental to them.

The email that I just received is intimidating and should be retracted immediately.

Neil Fox