Some school districts in the U.S. want to ban students from participating in #NeverAgain movement demos.
Students’ demo in Pittsburgh on Wednesday Photo: ap
It’s a new movement the U.S. has been experiencing since the rampage in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, and it’s coming from high school students, of all people. Across the country, teenagers and their relatives are currently demonstrating against the U.S.’s lax gun laws. However, resistance is now forming from some school districts who want to ban students from the policy.
Last week, students, teachers and parents across the U.S. took to the streets as part of so-called "school walk outs" to protest for tighter lax gun laws in the U.S. On Tuesday, organizers of the Never-Again campaign announced a statewide "walk out" – in support of Florida students who rallied at the state capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday to take their legislators to task.
But not all schools just let their students walk out. Some School Districts issued bans on protests within school hours or on school grounds. One School Disctrict in Texas even sent all students and parents a letter prohibiting students from participating in "any form of protest or rally" during school hours. If anyone violated this ordinance, he or she would be suspended from school for three days. Letters of exemption from parents would also not be accepted. "We will issue punishments whether it is one, fifty and five hundred students," the letter said.
Freedom of expression "disrupts lessons"
Teachers at a Los Angeles school had also forbidden their students to participate in the "walk out" protests and threatened them with "consequences" and "arrests" if they broke the rules. But when students then filed complaints with the principal, they were at least granted a 17-minute protest in the parking lot. However, at the "walk out" time, all of the school’s entrance gates happened to be closed – and the students were thus locked in.
Heidi Li Feldman, a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., agrees with many young people, teachers and parents that the Needville school’s punitive measures are clearly an attack on free expression. "This is a fundamental attack on the First Amendment, and most Americans have a good instinct for this kind of thing," Feldman told The Washington Post.
Aside from the fact that "fear-mongering" methods should have no place in schools: This is not the first time that it has been questioned whether students in the U.S. should be allowed to "politicize" themselves. It was already the case in the 1960s, when people protested against the Vietnam War by wearing black ribbons on their arms.
Yet the very goal of a school "education" would be for young people to learn to think critically and not take everything they are told at face value? Administrators could learn a lot about this from the determined students who defy their "bullshit" and stand up for what is right. After all, it is amazing when protests are banned with the explanation that they are disrupting classes when school shootings, which arguably disrupt classes even more, are the reason for these gatherings.