Weekly Feature

2018-03-08 / Editorial

Districts support national student walkout

Bee Editorial

Lancaster, Depew and St. Mary’s high schools are joining hundreds of other schools on March 14 for a national walkout event to protest gun violence. The walkout comes exactly one month after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Other districts, such as the Needville Independent School District in Texas and another in Waukesha, Wisconsin, have released statements warning students that disciplinary measures may be taken if they disrupt school time, according to articles via USA Today and CNN.

In contrast, St. Mary’s High School plans to schedule its walkout for 9 a.m. that day, in order to accommodate students involved in the musical.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a tweet regarding school walkouts: “Your school can punish you for missing class, just like they always can, but it can’t punish you more harshly for protesting than if you were missing class for another reason.” Ultimately, it’s up to how important a walkout is to those who want to participate. Three days in detention or being suspended might seem like a breeze compared to being complacent in the face of a topic a student, administrator or teacher feels passionately about.

If it’s a choice that person is proud of, if it’s something the individual has thought about and has weighed the pros and cons that go along with it and still decides to do it, then it’s worth it.

As for school districts, supporting students who have decided to join a global conversation about anything should be celebrated.

It encourages students to jump into discussions and appreciate conversation as a potential tool to effect change. Everyone, at some point, has gotten caught up in the small stuff: that next exam, that next observation, that looming deadline. Taking part in a national event such as the walkout helps take us out of the small stuff.

When we step out of our own confines, outside of that bubble that makes up our day-to-day lives, that can be frightening. But it can also be refreshing too. We just need the courage to take us there, and maybe a little support from people we look up to.

To learn more about the #ENOUGH National School Walkout, visit www.wom ensmarch.com/enough/.

Depew School District’s website, www.depewschools.org, has a general response to the Parkland, Florida, shooting, penned by Superintendent Jeffrey Rabey. The letter is dated Feb. 26.

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