Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion Free speech, however, is not a license to do anything at anytime. What makes the school protest different is that we have laws requiring student attendance and we try to provide a positive learning environment for the schools to perform their mission.By not discouraging walkouts, the schools are encouraging violation of the law. The taxpayers are assessed billions of dollar to provide the facilities and trained teachers to give the students foundations in the sciences and humanities. A walk stops this mission. While a walkout may be for 17 minutes, the process changes the dynamics and learning environment for the entire day and certainly doesn’t protect the rights of the students who are striving to master the mandated curriculum. Walkouts during the school day, like any other form of truancy, shouldn’t be permitted.As it’s reported in the paper, future protests may be planned. Let’s encourage free speech, but not in violation of the law and at the expense of those who wish to learn the prescribed studies.Gene AltmanNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsNiskayuna girls’ cross country wins over BethlehemEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Christopher Ognibene wrote a March 25 letter shaming the school districts that discouraged student walkouts. While I know Mr. Ognibene is a talented and dedicated educator, I must disagree with this view.Students, and all of us, have the right of free speech and can express our opinions on gun laws, environmental concerns, pro-choice, pro-life, animal rights and an infinite number of controversial issues. We also have the right to go to Washington to protest or protest at the offices of our elected officials.