A US rights group has taken a swipe at Long Island district's education officials for suspending students that protested against budget cuts.
In a letter to the Central Islip (EYE'-slihp) district, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) defended the students of Ralph Reed Middle School, saying they were exercising their constitutional rights.
The NYCLU further argued that the protesting students "should be praised for their idealism."
The union also emphasized that suspension of students runs counter to the freedom of speech.
The protest came after local officials issued lay-off notices to over 150 teachers last month due to budget cuts.
A large group of American school teachers have faced lay-offs due to high Republican budget cuts and discontinued support by the federal government.
States of California and Michigan are also among populous states that have faced massive lay-off of teachers and school employees in the recent past.
Meanwhile, New York unions are planning a massive rally on May 12 against potential budget cuts. The US budget deficits could reach some $140 billion for fiscal year 2012. It would be the largest budget shortfall in US history.