Dear students at our local high school,
Okay, so I heard about the letter you just got from the district, the letter that states you are not allowed to participate in the #ENOUGH National School Walkout on March 14th. Not a loud protest. Not a violent demonstration. You simply want to honor the victims of the shooting in Parkland by quietly walking outside and having seventeen minutes of silence and then walking back inside.
But the district came right out and said no. You are not allowed to participate in this nationally-organized peaceful protest. They stated clearly in their letter that anyone who leaves the classroom to participate will be given an unexcused absence and will not be allowed to retake any texts or quizzes or assignments they miss. So if you have a test at that time, F. If you have a presentation at that time, F. If you have a quiz at that time, F. You get an A for honoring the fallen and standing up for what you believe in and exercising one of the most important rights we have in this country, but what the colleges will see is a big fat F.
And why? Because the district claims that the walkout will be too disruptive. Too disruptive. Hmmmmm.
Hey district, on behalf of these students who can’t really say what they think because they are at your mercy, I would like to say something. Are you kidding me? TOO DISRUPTIVE?!!! Do you know what’s disruptive? A gunman coming into your school and killing as many people as he can with an AR-15. That’s disruptive.
So, students, I think it sucks that your district is belittling your rights. I know that that most of the other districts around here are supporting their students and using this as a teaching moment about peaceful protesting. I’m sorry that yours thinks seventeen little minutes in an entire school year is too much of a bother. I hope that they never have a REAL disruption here because if they do, I think they’ll quickly realize that a seventeen-minute disruption is nothing. Sometimes the little disruptions are important because they are what stop the big ones.
But here’s the thing, it is not the district’s decision. It is YOUR decision as the protestors. Protests were never meant to be easy. Is this protest worth it to you? For decades people have been making this decision. Is it worth it to stay seated on the bus and be arrested? Is it worth to sit at a counter and have food thrown on your head? Is it worth it to march against the Vietnam War and have the National Guard fire on you? Is it worth it to sit down, to lie down, to stop eating, to build tree houses, to march with signs, to go to jail? Is it worth it to miss seventeen minutes of your school day and maybe fail a test to stand up for something you believe in? Maybe that F is worth it. Maybe it’s not. That’s for you to decide, not your school district.
Come Wednesday, if you decide it’s worth it to honor the victims and to demand change, then go for it. Walk out. Just because you are younger doesn’t mean your opinion is less important. Your beliefs matter. And if you are going to be the future of this country, you have the right to say what that future should look like.
A mom who would like to give an F to the district for telling the students they cannot participate in a national walkout
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