Maverick Stow, a senior at William Floyd High School in Suffolk County, New York has been suspended from school for five days after showing up for class on his designated remote learning day. Stow claims he was suspended for doing what students have always been told to do, show up for school every day.
Stow’s arrival was a peaceful demonstration against remote learning. He wasn’t sick. He didn’t have COVID-19. He just wanted to be in a real classroom, with real teachers and real students.
After being suspended, in protest, Stow showed up for school again on Wednesday and the school district called the police on him, despite admitting they agree with his protest.
They even published a press release about Stow’s arrival at school, despite there being no criminal charges against Stow.
A statement issued by the Suffolk County Police Department differs from the school district’s account of the incident.
“Suffolk County Police responded to William Floyd High School on September 9 after a student showed up to class when he was not scheduled to,” the department said in a statement. “The school issued the student a suspension. Police advised the student to attend only when he is scheduled to. The student left without incident.”
“Maverick showed up to school again this morning despite his suspension and continued to display insubordinate behavior – even at one point squaring up to a district official and stating that the district would have to “forcibly remove” him from school grounds,”: the district said. “As a district, we must work to ensure a safe and disruption-free environment for students who are following the rules and showing up to learn. We take school safety seriously and since he has escalated this situation, the police are now involved. When a student is suspended off of school grounds for any reason, we cannot and will not tolerate students trying to gain access to our grounds or buildings. We work extremely hard to ensure the safety of our students and staff.”
The district went on to blame its lack of school funding for its decision to take a hard stance against Stow, putting his protest directly in the middle of their fight with the State of New York for funding. Many feel the district is now exploiting the child and his protest for their own financial gain.
“We are unable to provide all of our students with the technology they need for remote learning at this time, and when we can, some do not even have internet access. With additional mandates being handed down regularly along with a reduction in state aid (and with more possible), it has become the perfect storm,” the district said.
The district also warned other students not to join in Stow’s protest.
“Students who refuse to adhere to their scheduled in-person days and/or flagrantly disregard directives to leave school grounds and cause a disruptive environment for other students will face disciplinary actions,” the district said.
“We support what he is doing, he was suspended for going to school,” his mother said, “Remote learning is not learning.”
“The virus doesn’t discriminate on Monday or Tuesdays…or Thursdays and Fridays, that’s not how it works,” Stow said. “I was going to school like students should be going to school.”
Photo screengrab from ABC News Video.