A 17-year-old high school student from New York was arrested after he showed up to class to protest distance learning. Maverick Stow, a senior at William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, went to class on Tuesday (September 8), despite being scheduled to attend classes remotely.
He was allowed to remain in school for the remainder of the day but was informed he had been given a five-day suspension. Stow did not care and showed up the next day. He was told to leave and warned that he would face criminal charges if he returned.
The threat didn't deter Stow, who returned to school on Thursday. School officials contacted the police who took Stow into custody and charged him with third-degree criminal trespass.
School officials said that if Stow continued to show up at the school, they would be forced to cancel in-person classes entirely.
"If Mr. Stow continues to try to access school grounds each day that we are open, we will close the high school — and its approximately 3,000 students — to all in-person learning, and it will be all virtual for the foreseeable future," school spokesman James Montalto said.
Stow told Newsday that he believes the hybrid system of learning, in which some students attend classes in person, while others remain at home, is unfair.
"I think we should be in school five days a week," he said, adding, "I'm doing this because I feel strongly that we should be in school five days a week, that we should have all the extracurricular activities that come with it."
The school countered by pointing out the hybrid model was necessary to ensure that students can follow social distancing guidelines.
"We are still in the midst of a pandemic and will abide by the regulations set in place by our government and health officials designed to keep our students and staff safe. As we have said, Mr. Stow's rights as a student do not surpass the rights of any of our other 8,799 students," Montalto said. "Most of our in-person classes at the high school are at maximum capacity according to the square footage of each classroom."
Stow's mother said that she is proud of her son for standing up for what he believes in but is upset that the school had him arrested.
"I have mixed feelings, truthfully. I am beyond proud of my son for standing up for what he believes in and defending his right to an education," she said. "I'm a little upset that it has come to this point where the school had to arrest my son for wanting to go to school. I just, I mean, I understand they're trying to abide by whatever rules and regulations and laws that they have to follow, but I think it's a very sad day when a student gets arrested for wanting to be in school."
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