I'm Okay With Students Being Punished For Protesting
Earlier this week, tens of thousands of students around the country walked out of school to protest for changes in our country's gun laws as part of the #NationalSchoolWalkout on the one month anniversary of the attack in Parkland, Florida.
Many schools recognized student's rights to a peaceful protest. Our school provided a designated area to gather, and while they didn't openly support it, they warned students that their teachers would decide on if to discipline them or not for leaving class.
Our school was closed due to the latest blizzard in New England, but we had already told our daughter that we supported her taking part and if she were punished at school, she would not be punished at home.
There has been plenty of chatter angry at schools for punishing students. I understand not being happy about it, but at the same time, I'm okay with it.
Students (and all people) need to realize that while their rights are protected to peacefully protest and say what they want, that doesn't mean you are free from consequences.
This reality has been lost in our society lately. We should not be able to tweet, scream, post or say anything and then be angry if people react negatively to it.
Words have consequences. Actions create reactions.
If a school has a rule about walking out of class and they choose to enforce it when students do this, I'm okay with it. Sure, I would prefer them looking the other way and understanding what was going on, but the students taking part shouldn't have assumed they'd get a pass for deciding to protest.
They don't have the same worries that individuals who chose to sit down at a segregated lunch counter or to march into a crowd of armed police had, but they should be ready for consequences if they believe in what they are protesting.
Change has never come without consequences and walking out of school for seventeen minutes is easy. I hope that every one of those students who received a detention or suspension uses the time to continue their protest. I look forward to a detention room photo of students all in orange or #ENOUGH duct taped across their shirts.
This fight for change is far from over, and while the wave is powerful at the moment, I've seen it crash on the beach too often to be overly hopeful. Yet as people, #MarchForOurLives and another #NationalSchoolWalkout is being planned I'm trying to be optimistic.
I do know that there will be another wave if this one doesn't continue, but eventually, I hope the tides of change arrive.