March 15, 2018 10:37 PM
A viral video taken at a Minnesota high school during National Walkout Day has garnered millions of views and shares.
Students across the U.S. walked out of class Wednesday, demanding an end to gun violence in schools.
But a student holding a sign supporting gun rights at New Prague High School said the principal told him to give up the sign or leave school property.
"I came out here with a poster trying to make a difference," said Andy Dalsin, a senior.
Dalsin said principal Lonnie Seifert told him to give up a sign that read "Guns don't kill people. People kill people" or leave the property, citing district policy.
"I stood in the back," he said. "I didn't try and cause a ruckus, but I was seen by the principal and he came and we had our exchange."
The district said in a statement that "such items must be submitted to and reviewed by school administration at least 24 hours in advance."
But Dalsin stresses other students also had signs, and told him they didn't know about the policy either.
"Administration didn't fairly use their policy across the board," he said. "I felt like I was singled out unjustly and my constitutional rights and my First Amendment was trampled on."
After the senior was told to give up his sign or leave the campus, he moved to a public sidewalk to continue sharing his message.
"It sounded like a lot of people were giving him a pat on the back, especially for the courage he had," fellow senior Riley Schaeffer said.
Dalsin is thankful for the support. But he said the focus should be on the victims of school shootings, while also exploring other ways to protect students.
"Across the country people are using students to push the rhetoric of gun control," Dalsin said. "And I wanted to come out here, and at the same time (while) supporting the victims, come forward with an attitude that shows a different viewpoint."
The district went on to say they respect a student's right to free speech, but added "Those rights, however, are to be balanced against the district's responsibility to maintain a school environment focused on education."
Dalsin wasn't disciplined, and stands by his actions.
"I felt like what I'm doing is great, and by standing up for people's rights, I'm doing the right thing here," he said.
Dalsin said he hasn't spoken to school administration since the incident, but is open to having a conversation.
Updated: March 15, 2018 10:37 PM
Created: March 15, 2018 09:27 PM
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