Teacher Put on Paid Leave for Questioning Student Walkout: School 'Basically Targeted Me'
A history teacher in Sacramento, California believes she was unfairly "targeted" by administrators for questioning whether pro-life students would be allowed the same right to protest as students in favor of gun control measures.
Julianne Benzel was put on paid leave after she triggered a few complaints by asking students if they believed an anti-abortion protest would be allowed by school districts across the country.
Thousands of schools saw students leave class on Wednesday's National Walkout Day, during which students across the country stepped out of class for 17 minutes in honor of the 17 victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
"[If schools] are going to allow one group of students to get up during class and walk out to protest one issue, would they still give the same courtesy to another group of students who wanted to get up and walk out to protest? And I used the example of abortion," Benzel explained on "Fox and Friends."
Benzel said she was asked to return to work Friday and have the issue "swept up." She said she took a mental health day and hoped to return Monday because she misses her students.
The school district's chief of communications and community engagement, Diana Capra, said in a statement: "The teacher was not penalized or placed on leave based on her viewpoints. ...The district can clarify that the action was taken due to complaints from parents and students involving the teacher's communications regarding... the student-led remembrance activities."
Benzel responded by pointing out that just two students and one parent took issue with the discussion she held with students and reported it to the Rocklin School District administrators.
"I teach over 120 students and [administrators] took two students and one parent's complaint and ... took that minuscule evidence, did not corroborate it with any other students or parents and basically targeted me," Benzel said.
Watch the interview above.