Students Will Get Credit for Time Spent at Gun Rallies

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - Some of the people taking part in this weekend's marches for and against gun control will be Maryland high school students - marching for credit that will count toward their graduation requirements.

The idea of a public school system endorsing political activism has some parents upset.

"Advocating for various sides of issues is part of the learning process," Montgomery County schools spokesperson Kate Harrison told the Washington Times. "It's part of the learning process. It's part of the democratic process."

If that's so, why did county school officials distribute a flier endorsing only the Million Mom March (which is expected to attract far less than a million people)?

School officials admit that the PTA fliers sent home with students endorsed only the Million Mom March. Those fliers did not mention the Second Amendment Sisters rally, school officials explained, because that pro-gun group did not contact the county, as the "Million Mom" people did.

As proof of its organizational prowess, the Million Mom organizers specifically asked Montgomery County schools to let students attending the march count that time toward their "student service learning" requirement.

Even though the Second Amendment Sisters didn't request it, time spent at that march will also count toward the graduation credit.

Montgomery County schools require students to perform 75 hours of community service before receiving their diplomas.

"We don't recruit kids," Kristine Leary, the "service learning" official who agreed to give students credit for taking part in this weekend's marches. "We just provide information on an opportunity," she told the Washington Times.

But some parents were offended by the school system's endorsement of the Million Mom March. "Schools should not be in politics," parent Terry McCoy told the Times.

However, the national PTA and some of its local chapters do support gun control in general and the Million Mom March in particular.

Joan Carol, the principal of North Bethesda Middle School in Montgomery County, told the Washington Times she "had no idea" some parents might find the Million Mom March objectionable.