Young people taking action on important issues is great.
Encouraging them to walk out of school is not an appropriate way to do it, however, and adults shouldn’t encourage it. A school assembly or a march on a Saturday is the right way.
A few dozen students walked out of several City of Vision schools Wednesday as part of a national walkout to honor the people killed in the Parkland, Fla., school shooting on Feb. 14 and to call for stricter gun laws. RRHS held an assembly to honor those victims and to introduce new organization, Students for Peace, which encourages students to show kindness and include everyone.
On March 24, March for Our Lives, a peaceful demonstration demanding that “a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address gun issues,” is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Haynes Park.
To be clear, this editorial isn’t about gun laws. It’s about methods used to call for change.
Now, about the walkouts. Students are supposed to be learning to function in the adult world.
Most professionals would be in big trouble with the boss if they disappeared in the middle of a work day, even for just 17 minutes, without getting permission for time off in advance.
Can you imagine what would happen if police officers or paramedics walked away in the middle of an emergency to protest something? What if a customer-service person hung up on you mid-conversation to be part of a demonstration?
Going to school is a students’ job.
Plus, educators aren’t any kind of enemy or the subject of the gun debate, but school walkouts bring them into it, willingly or not. That’s not appropriate.
We think RRHS Principal Sherri Carver had a great idea in the assembly. It was a good compromise giving students opportunity for action without complete disruption.
Students for Peace is an awesome effort, too.
March for Our Lives is also done right – in an appropriate time and place, and showing those involved are serious enough to put in much more than 17 minutes. Regardless of what one believes about gun control, the work, thought and partnerships that seem to have gone into the event are admirable.
Taking a stand is great – truly —but there’s a time for it, and that’s not the middle of a school day. If parents want to give their kids permission to walk out of class, or if the students are determined to do it no matter what, OK, but accept the consequences without whining.
Yes, disobedience gets people’s attention, but it’s going to take a lot more than a single act – disobedient or otherwise — to change anything. Change takes sustained, dedicated work over the long term.
If you want to be taken seriously and make a difference, keep working beyond one protest and be courteous of others as you do. That’s how peaceful reformers across history changed the world.
Respect is earned, as is change, and you earn it by putting in the work and doing things right.