Say you’re a teacher or administrator in a high school or middle school class and many of your students want to walk out of class to go protest something.
What do you do?
According to the “experts” in a recent Education Week article, you should go with the flow, so to speak.
For instance, when students in the Iowa City public schools wanted to do just that to demonstrate against climate change with Greta Thunberg, Superintendent Stephen Murley not only allowed such, he “coordinated with local police to block traffic at busy intersections along the planned [march] route.”
(Blocking traffic? Good thing this wasn’t in contemporary Canada. Oh wait, it wasn’t an anti-vaccine mandate rally.)
A superintendent in Missouri noted school officials have worked with students to protest police brutality and racial injustice ever since the killing of Michael Brown in 2014.
Things really took off, however, after the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS shootings in Florida which, among other things, launched the social media activist career of David Hogg. “High School Walkout Days” were planned across the country in response to the incident, and school officials dutifully went along.
Schools around where I live participated, including my high school alma mater. Around that time I posted the following on Facebook:
A few progressive acquaintances attempted to claim the walkouts weren’t political — that students merely were protesting the deaths of kids their age. That’s nonsense, of course. Hogg and several of his peers made it political in the aftermath of the tragedy.
In my Facebook thread, I asked the progressive commenters if they’d support a student walkout in opposition to abortion as it takes many more lives than all of the U.S.’s school shootings combined. In a victory for consistency, they said they would (although one said she “didn’t see the connection” to the Stoneman Douglas walkouts, but hey, a win’s a win).
Even the aforementioned Superintendent Murley agrees it is “important that educators aren’t seen as condoning their causes or favoring one political viewpoint over another.”
But in education everyone knows that some viewpoints are “better” than others. During the “High School Walkout Days” furor, a high school teacher was placed on leave for having the hypothetical abortion conversation in one of her classes. Later, some students at the school actually took up the idea, but the editor of the school’s paper made it quite clear she didn’t see the point.
Too many public school teachers and administrators, the majority of whom lean left, easily will buckle to the protest topic du jour … but will fail to allow (or at least get in the way) of activism contrary to their beliefs.
Look at what happened to a kid who held a sign in support of the Second Amendment at one of the “High School Walkout Days” protests. Look at what happens to virtually any form of activism or discussion in the educational realm that is even slightly conservative.
And don’t think right-of-center students and teachers will fare any better any time soon. The Biden administration colluded with a national school boards group to consider slapping a “terrorist” label on parents who have concerns about what schools do. This is the same political party of individuals — like the vice president — who lobbied for Black Lives Matter rioters’ bail , all the while supporting throw-the-book-at-’em approaches to January 6 “insurrectionists” and protesting Canadian truckers.
But remember: November will be here before you know it.
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