Chris Cleveland, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, said he worried that the walkouts, aimed at pushing for tougher gun restrictions in the wake of the deadly Parkland shooting, have provided the template for advocacy groups eager to co-opt the public schools for progressive activism.
"If they get away with this, they'll be free to engage in any kind of political activity in the schools that they wish," said Mr. Cleveland, who has a third-grader in the Chicago Public Schools.
The party is moving to avert that scenario by preparing a lawsuit against the school system, arguing that the district violated state and federal law as well as its own policies by organizing a political demonstration — and pressuring students to attend — on the taxpayers' dime.
He is not alone. Connecticut lawyer Deborah G. Stevenson said she has fielded calls from parents and others across the nation, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, after reports about her clash with the New Milford Public Schools.
She urged the district last week on behalf of several parents to cancel the high school walkout, arguing that the schools had "condoned, facilitated, and supported an event that clearly advocates for students to be part of a partisan political 'movement,'" but the district refused.
All over the country, parent groups are doing the same thing. They are suing the schools and school boards for political activism on school grounds using their kids as sign holders.