Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Students walked out against gun violence. Let's honor them.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 6:12 PM

click to enlarge Palmer High School walk-out - ASHLEY PERRY
  • Ashley Perry
  • Palmer High School walk-out

Wednesday, at 10 a.m., students across the country walked out to demand action against gun violence. They spent 17 minutes outside, one for each person killed in the Valentine's Day massacre in Parkland, Florida this year.

A lot of people have said that this isn't appropriate action for students. Of course, people said the same thing about protesters during the Civil Rights movement, or during the Vietnam War.

The Gazette editorial page, in particular, has run several opinion pieces in recent days claiming that, by supporting their students' First Amendment rights (yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled this is within a student's constitutional rights), school administrators were putting kids in harm's way. They said that liberals are enticing kids to protest, ignoring the fact that the students who survived the Parkland shooting have sparked this movement out of a place of deep trauma and a need for change. They've claimed that so-called "walk-ins" would be a better option for kids, or that schools wouldn't allow kids to walk out for Jesus.

Seriously?

Children across the country left their classrooms, often with their teachers and parents meeting them on their schools' lawn. They came out to say that they're tired of lawmakers stalling on a problem that is claiming so many young lives. They came out to say that they're scared to go to school. They came out to exercise their right to speak — a right that Americans, even young Americans, cherish. They came out to protect their fundamental right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Let's not forget that every kid gunned down in our schools is robbed of that fundamental right.

Americans are all over the place when it comes to gun control. But the students that walked out today make a fair point: This issue has been so polarizing that lawmakers have, in most cases, deadlocked, doing nothing to prevent the next school shooting. By speaking out, our country's children are telling us that isn't enough. Something must be done.

We shouldn't be ashamed of these kids. We should honor them. They're brave, they're bold, and in making their voices heard, they are 100 percent American.

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