NYC students plan pro-Palestinian walkout for Friday: What to know

A citywide pro-Palestinian student walkout is planned for Friday in protest of the ongoing war in Israel. 

Posters calling for an "all out for Palestine school walkout," have garnered the attention of students, teachers and city officials. 

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - MAY 14: Students holding Palestinian flags and banners gather the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center during pro-Palestinian protests against the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza, in New York, United States o

NYC pro-Palestinian protests

Students across the five boroughs are expected to walk out of their classrooms around 11:30 a.m Friday to rally outside the Tweed Courthouse on Chambers Street, which currently serves as Department of Education headquarters at 3 p.m.

In a post shared by Teachers Unite NYC on Instagram, they say: "High schoolers have spoken: they want a free Palestine from the river to the sea."

NYC education officials voice concern

Education officials say it's an "all-hands-on-deck situation" in the event that the walkouts happen Friday. They also raised concerns about the possibility of teachers walking out as well. 

"And if students are going to a particular location, we're gonna partner up with our agency partners in the Police Department to ensure that things are happening peacefully," DOE security chief Mark Rampersant said. 

DOE officials couldn't confirm which schools, if any, would participate and, so far, they don't know of any cases of teachers encouraging students to leave.

Department of Education Chancellor David Banks and other officials have condemned the plan as a distraction to teachers and other students. 

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - Pro-Palestinian protesters stage a demonstration in major transit hubs like Grand Central, Port Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station in New York, United States on Monday, December 18, 2023. Demonstrators carrying Palestin

What are students asking for?

An 8-page toolkit shared by several groups, including Teachers Unite NYC, encouraged students to know their rights and to ask for leniency if they're disciplined for leaving the school without permission.

Organizers say the rally is in protest of the ongoing genocide in Gaza. More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed there since the war began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking around 250 hostages.

  • Students claim they are demanding an end to the repression against students and teachers for pro-Palestinian speech and a rejection of definitions that conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
  • From their local officials, they demand a city council resolution in support of a permanent ceasefire; faculty pension plans without investments in the Israeli war machine; the categorical rejection of Zionist curricula in schools; and the banning of NYPD from schools.

David Banks, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.

Rules against student walkouts

It is against school policy for staff to promote student walkouts. However, employees themselves are allowed to join in on protests after the school day is over. 

NYC Schools' Chancellor David C. Banks, who recently testified before Congress about anti-Semitism in schools, condemned the potential pro-Palestinian protests and discouraged students from walking out. 

He did not say exactly what the repercussions would be. 

This comes ahead of Mayor Eric Adams' and the NYPD's plan to hold a security briefing about the annual Israel Day on 5th, scheduled for this Sunday.