Instead, in response to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union, the county responded by calling the actions taken by the school system and David Crockett’s administration justified.
“What we did was lay out the events of the week, which we believe cast fault on neither the administration of David Crockett High School or Mr. Walsh,” said County Attorney John Rambo, responding on behalf of the school system to a letter addressed to Director of Schools Grant Rowland by the ACLU.
“We believe the actions of Principal (Henry) Marable and his staff were appropriate.
“No disciplinary action was taken against Mr. Walsh.”
The ACLU’s letter, dated May 14, demanded that school officials apologize for suspending Walsh and also promise not to punish students who take part in such demonstrations in the future.
Rambo’s response stated, “At Principal Marable’s suggestion, Mr. Walsh and his mother chose and agreed that he would leave school early, which was an excused absence and not held against him in any way. In fact, Mr. Walsh has an excellent conduct record at David Crockett High School, for which he is to be congratulated. Contrary to recent media reports, Mr. Walsh graduated with this outstanding disciplinary record, as Mr. Walsh was not disciplined or suspended during the week of April 16, 2007 to April 20, 2007.”
The letter goes on to say that Walsh’s well-being was protected by the school administra- tion, including an incident that occurred at an earlier date in which disciplinary action was taken against other students for “inappropriate interaction with a student.”
On the administration’s knowledge of Walsh’s plan to participate in a “Day of Silence,” Rambo states that Walsh did place fliers in the teachers’ mailbox.
“However, these mail boxes are for administrative purposes and placement of documents are only allowed as authorized by the principal,” said Rambo in the letter. “Mr. Walsh did not seek or receive permission to distribute his fliers in the teachers’ mail boxes that are solely used for official purposes. However, Mr. Walsh’s principal took no disciplinary action against him for this activity, and the fliers were simply removed.”
What was disconcerting to the county were the number of absences related to the “Day of Silence.” On that day, 196 students left school early, 80 students left early and 150 were absent the next day, and by Friday 390 were absent and 125 had left early.
“It was and is the goal and desire of the teachers and staff of David Crockett High School to provide the opportunity for Mr. Walsh and all other students to develop their maximum potential and to receive a sound education,” Rambo said. “To this end, it is their hope that this mission was met during the final weeks of Mr. Walsh’s academic career at David Crockett High School.”