Saturday, March 17, 2018

Some school officials were too anxious to control student dissent at walkouts

I have a nephew who attends Homewood-Flossmoor High School in the suburbs, and he was among the participants in that school’s attempt to participate in the national walkout of high school students desiring more stringent gun laws.
Not all high schools were as photogenic in their activity as these on Walkout day. Photo by Gregory Tejeda
Although to listen to his account of the school’s activity this week, it most definitely seems that some people have no clue of what a real “walkout” consists of.

SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALS did not make an effort to stop students from voicing their concerns; all students were told they could partake in such events.

But students at the south suburban high school were given various sites both inside the school building and outside on school property where they could gather to express themselves.

“Express themselves” meant conducting 17-minute moments of silence to pay tribute to the high school students who died in the Parkland, Fla., high school incident that had occurred one month earlier.

But as my nephew explained it, students had been told that while they were excused from class to participate, they were expected to do so in a respectful manner.

SOMETHING ALONG THE lines of go outside, do your moment of silence, then get back to class. Students were informed that disrespectful behavior WOULD be grounds for detention.
Downers Grove detention won't look like this

For what it’s worth, the number of students who got punished by the school for their behavior Wednesday morning wasn’t any higher than it would have been on any given school day. The school pulled off the illusion of protest without having any of the ugliness of students feeling compelled to speak out.

There certainly wasn’t any of the kind of activity of students marching through the streets of their surrounding neighborhood, yelling and screaming and demanding that our government officials take their heads out of their behinds and quit acting as those individuals in our society paranoid enough to feel the need to own an AK-47 or some other high-powered semi-automatic rifle are somehow expressing their “American-ness” in such actions.

It definitely isn’t the most controlling behavior I have heard of from school officials this week.

THAT COULD POSSIBLY go to the administrators of Downers Grove North and South high schools. There, students were told that participation in such activity would be regarded as a disruption of school and would be punishable by an hour’s detention.

The Chicago Tribune reported that some 3,900 students went to class, but another 1,100 engaged in a walkout. Perhaps we should complain about all the paper wasted due to all the detention slips written up – except that in today’s day and age, the students probably got detention e-mails informing them of their punishment.

It would be a crowded detention hall, except that school officials say they’re splitting the students up and having them serve their “time” either before, of after, school. Or even on Saturday.

As though they’re creating a real-life version of “The Breakfast Club.” Only no Molly Ringwald-like cutie hanging around, in all likelihood.

I NOTICED THE Chicago Public Schools administration put some organization into the marches that their students made so as to express themselves.

To the point where Illinois Attorney General candidate Pat Quinn felt compelled to show up at such a march – the one done by students at Benito Juarez High School.
At Benito Juarez, was it about Quinn?

Quinn even made a point of issuing a statement calling for, “common-sense solutions to end gun violence” – and a plea for donations, “if you can.” Although I suspect his real intent is less to pocket a few bucks, but to try to sway some of the Benito Juarez parents into casting votes for his political comeback dreams come Tuesday.

Making the student expression of political views nothing more than a political campaign stunt – just the type of activity that ought to warrant students rising up in protest against someone trying to steal their political voice.


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