California teacher put on paid leave for questioning walkouts, says she was ‘targeted’ by school officials

A California teacher who questioned students about the nationwide school walkout protests believes she was unfairly “targeted” by school officials when she was placed on paid leave.

Julianne Benzel, a history teacher in Sacramento, sparked some complaints that led to the action by Rocklin School District administrators by asking her students about their understanding of the scheduled National Walkout Day. The nationwide anti-gun protest was planned for students to leave their classes for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.

“I opened up the discussion for, if schools – not only our school and our administration but schools across the country – are going to allow one group of students to get up during class and walk out to protest one issue, would they still give the same courtesy to another group of students,” Benzel told “Fox & Friends” on Friday.

The teacher specifically used the abortion issue as an example.

This apparently triggered a reaction that caused the politically correct action by the school.

Only two students and one parent took issue with Benzel’s discussion with her class, reporting it to District administrators who placed her on paid leave.

“The teacher was not penalized or placed on leave based on her viewpoints,” Diana Capra, the school district’s chief of communications and community engagement, said in a statement according to Fox News. “The district can clarify that the action was taken due to complaints from parents and students involving the teacher’s communications regarding… the student-led remembrance activities.”

Benzel criticized the action taken based on such a small number of complaints.

“I teach over 120 students and [administrators] took two students and one parent’s complaint and … took that minuscule evidence, did not corroborate it with any other students or parents and basically targeted me,” Benzel said.

She also agreed with host Steve Doocy that Wednesday’s event was presented in the “guise” of a memorial to the Parkland victims but became a political statement when it obviously became a national anti-gun protest. The nation-wide event, described by Fox News’ Laura Ingraham as a “left-wing anti-Trump diatribe,” was organized by Empower,  the youth wing of the Women’s March organization.

The protests afforded Democrats and liberals across the country a perfect platform replete with media attention and thousands of chanting students to push their anti-gun narrative. And while protests in some locations got violent, Benzel noted that suggestions by students in her school to honor the Parkland victims in other ways fell on deaf ears.

“Some of my other students floated some beautiful ideas on how the entire school could rally together during lunchtime and they never got a sufficient answer as to why that couldn’t take place,” she said.

Benzel was asked to return to work Friday and have the issue “swept up,” but she chose to take a “mental wellness day” in order to process all that happened.

“I’m hoping to be back on Monday,” she told Doocy. “I miss my students dearly.”

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