- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Five high school students were suspended after staging a “die-in” in front of a Marine Corps recruiting booth during an on-campus job fair, one of the students says.

A school official confirmed that five students were disciplined Wednesday for distributing unapproved leaflets and partially blocking access to an adjacent booth at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick.

“We do not suspend kids for protesting if they do it in the right way,” Hank Bohlander, an associate superintendent of Frederick County public schools, told the Frederick News-Post.

One of the students, junior Bob Hayes, said he planned to appeal his suspension.

“I don’t think what we’re doing is wrong. I think what we’re doing is good,” he said.

Bob said he and four other students staged a “die-in” about 10:30 a.m. by falling down in front of the Marine Corps booth and then passing out leaflets protesting the war in Iraq and the presence of military recruiters on school grounds.

“We’re angry,” Bob said, adding that the school “shouldn’t be occupied like Iraq is.”

The students were told they could return to school after their parents meet today with school officials, Bob said.

He told the News-Post that when the students refused to move during their demonstration, a Frederick County sheriff’s deputy took two of them away from the scene and that the three others went willingly.

Bob said the students were kept in the principal’s office for about three hours.

The protest follows the county school board’s rejection earlier this year of student petitions seeking to bar military recruiters from campus.

Bob, who belongs to both the Young Socialist Club and the Rainbow Alliance at the school, was a leader of that effort.

He had argued that recruiters should be banned from school grounds because the military rejects openly homosexual people and uses misleading recruitment tactics.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that military recruiters must be allowed on campuses that accept federal money.

Recruiters from each branch of the military are allowed to visit each Frederick County public high school once per marking period, or four times per year.

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