Colleges and universities, to say nothing of numerous editorial boards, are saying, in effect, ‘Yes, it is. Walking out of class is excellent testimony on behalf of a good cause.’ But they are wrong.
Walking out elevates a feeling of moral urgency above respect for education and the rights of fellow students. Walking out during regular school hours is meant to dramatize how deeply students are touched by the latest school massacre and how strongly they support legislative remedies. The walkouts, of course, won’t change the surrounding debate over Second Amendment rights. The students may hope to persuade elected officials to “do something” to stop the scourge of mass killings in schools. But what they are really doing is mistaking moral vanity for genuine “participation in democracy.”
Walking out of class to drive a political point emphatically subordinates education to the quest for power. To many students, the protests are righteous and perhaps cathartic. But underlying their experience of “making a difference” is the message that the pursuit of political ends justifies the sacrifice of educational priorities.
My sincere concern is that the real living victims (who were actually in the specific building which was the focus of the attack, and of course friends, family…) will not properly deal with their grief.
I also fear there are big disappointments ahead, when their activism actually does not bear fruit. Some of these kids are very invested in the elimination of AR-15 style weapons…and their adult manipulators have told them they will make a difference.
Adult lobbyists are ready to deal with failure. These folks are not.
Peter Wood makes the point that the walk-outs will have an effect on education, and since there seems to be few adults willing to hold absent students accountable, the walk-outs and similar actions will proceed.
Does “civil disobedience” of this sort justify denying educational opportunity to fellow students, particularly when the protesters have non-disruptive alternatives?
He put civil disobedience in quotes [I think] because these walkouts are not classic civil disobedience at all. Students are not breaking unjust laws, like drinking from the whites only fountain or marching when the community refuses to issue a permit. They’re not disrupting an unfair institution.
They’re skipping school. With support from liberal adults in positions of power.
I hope they put extra security at Starbucks on walk-out days. Milo Yiannopolis and Ben Shapiro might want to stay off the sidewalks. Bad day for a “Free Speech” event sponsored by the College Republicans.
There’s only one thing worse than an emotionally scarred, activist teenager. That’s an empowered, emotionally scarred teenager.