Guidance for Student Walkouts on Friday 4/20

Chelsey Martinez's picture

You may have heard that students around the state, and perhaps in your own building, are again planning a walkout this Friday, April 20. As we did earlier this spring, MASSP is providing information on how to address these walkout activities in your school.

While the overall guidance is similar to what we sent out in February, the updated document contains information specific to April 20, along with legal guidance from Thrun Law Firm.

This updated information is the result of group effort between our office and MASA, MAISA, MASB, MEMSPA, MDE, MSBO and the Michigan School Public Relations Association (MSPRA).

Click here to download the PDF document, which provides talking points, background on legal precedence, tips on communicating with various audiences and more.

This document is intended to be informational and highlight some options for addressing this issue in productive and proactive ways.

It is important to note that while April 20 was chosen for the walkout to coincide with the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, the date has other significant historical relevance as well. April 20 is Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s birthday. It is also known as "Weed Day" – a pop culture holiday for many people across the world.

The story about why 4/20 is significant in weed culture allegedly dates back to the early 1970's when a group of students at a California High School would get together at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana after school and sports practice. The phenomenon later caught on and spread when one of those students went to work for the band Grateful Dead. The band's popularity, following and continued reference to 420 helped form a global association between the number and marijuana, and eventually, the date. We share this information to ensure that you have a complete picture of the concerns that may arise on 4/20.

While this Friday's walkouts are scheduled to remember the Columbine massacre and a call for social change, it's important to be aware of the other reasons for the date's significance. Whether a walkout is planned at your school or not, we encourage you to read the attached guidance and be prepared should the conversation or situation arise.