Prestigious US colleges won't reject students who protest guns

(Reuters) - Dozens of U.S. colleges and universities, including at least three Ivy League schools, have said their application processes will not consider disciplinary action taken against high school students who protest last week's massacre at a Florida school.

Many school districts officials have threatened to suspend high school students who take part in nationwide gun control walkouts and other demonstrations called by survivors of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Such disciplinary action can sometimes hurt a student's chances of getting into a preferred college.

The student-led #NeverAgain movement launched after the Feb. 14 rampage has reshaped the long-running gun control debate almost overnight and could influence the U.S. midterm elections.

"Yale will NOT be rescinding anyone's admission decision for participating in peaceful walkouts for this or other causes, regardless of any high school's disciplinary policy," Hannah Mendlowitz, a senior assistant director of admissions and recruitment at Yale University, wrote on Friday in a blog post.

RELATED: Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure

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Florida lawmakers refuse to debate a gun control measure
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react after the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those supporting them react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sheryl Acquaroli, (L), and Ashley Santoro, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School react as they watch the Florida House of Representatives vote down a procedural move to take a bill banning assault weapons out of committee and bring it to the floor for a vote on February 20, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S. following last week's mass shooting on their campus. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, raises his hand as part of a move to make members of the House of Representatives have their vote recorded during his request to have a bill banning assault rifles pulled from committee and brought immediately to the House for a vote at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, looks on his computer at gun control bills moving through the Senate as he talks with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and those that support their cause, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School walk by a sign in the Senate office building on the way to speak with Florida state legislators, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Students and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School advocating for a change in gun control laws listen during a meeting with Sen. Bobby Powell, D-Riviera Beach, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
Florence Yared, 17, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, waits in a hallway to speak with Florida state legislators about legislation that could prevent future tragedies, following last week's mass shooting on their campus, in Tallahassee, Florida, U.S., February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Colin Hackley
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"I, for one, will be cheering these students on from New Haven," Mendlowitz said.

In addition to Yale, more than 40 universities, including Brown, Dartmouth and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), have issued statements supporting prospective scholars who may heed the calls of the Parkland survivors and risk school disciplinary action by joining protests.

Survivors of the Parkland shooting have demanded lawmakers restrict gun sales and are targeting politicians funded by the pro-gun National Rifle Association.

As the pressure on the NRA builds, several of its corporate partners have said they are cutting marketing ties with the gun rights organization.

Two airlines, Delta and United, became the latest, saying on Twitter that they were no longer offering NRA members discounted rates and would ask the NRA to remove their information from the its website.

NRA officials have lashed out at gun control advocates, arguing that Democratic elites are politicizing the Parkland rampage to erode gun rights.

RELATED: Vigils held after deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida

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Vigils held after deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida
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Vigils held after deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida
People attend a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Students mourn during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A woman lights a candle during a vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Residents attend a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A man reacts during a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Daniel Journey (C), an 18-year-old senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, attends a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at his school, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. Journey said he lost two friends he had known and grown up with since they were seven years old in the shooting. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A handwritten note to a lost friend is surrounded by candles and flowers at a candlelight vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A student places a candle with other tributes at a vigil the day after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
Mourners react during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Mourners react during a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
A student rests his head against his mother as they attend a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
People attend a candlelight vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, U.S. February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
Students mourn at a community prayer vigil for victims of yesterday's shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake
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In addition to classroom walkouts, a student rally dubbed the March For Our Lives is scheduled for March 14 in Washington.

Officials at some school districts have warned against involvement in demonstrations during school hours.

"Should students choose to do so, they will be suspended from school for 3 days and face all the consequences that come along with an out-of-school suspension," Curtis Rhodes, superintendent of the Needville Independent School District in Texas, cautioned students in a Facebook message.

But Stu Schmill, dean of admissions at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in a statement that any "meaningful, peaceful" participation in a protest that results in disciplinary action will not impact their decision on whether to admit a future applicant.

Officials at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, took to Twitter on Friday to say that it too supports peaceful protest, and to urge students to "speak your truth."

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)

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