A parent’s thoughts on the walkout

It has recently been brought to my attention via a letter sent to my home that my daughter and her peers who participated in the Walkout of March 14 will be assigned detention, which we both knew would happen. I would like to share some thoughts.

I am proud of my daughter for standing up for her beliefs at a young age and trying to bring attention to this matter. It took great courage for my daughter and her fellow students to blatantly disregard the administration’s orders knowing there would be a disciplinary consequence and willingly accept it. Our kids are groomed and taught from the first day of Kindergarten to respect and obey their teachers and school staff, making their decision to walk out even more difficult. Many of these students are college bound and do not take the matter of detention lightly, yet this issue was of such importance to them that they were able to summon the courage needed to go through with their plan.

I am aware of the school’s responsibility to keep the students inside the building during school hours, but would it not have been smarter, more supportive and perhaps more enlightened to follow the lead of other, more open-minded schools and allow some staff to accompany the kids out, displaying some compassion and courage themselves? Aside from any political ideology—and it is pretty evident where the Wayne Highlands School Board would stand—the showing of solidarity and empathy these kids displayed for all the victims would have been all the more meaningful to them if they knew there was some iota of empathy from the school staff.

Our kids are the first generation to be expected to attend school wondering in the morning if there will be a shooting that day in their school. Small children in elementary schools participate in drills to lock down the building in case there is gunfire. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. There are no exceptions, rural or urban: the threat exists everywhere now. Small towns are not immune to such violence, and our kids are all too aware of the increased potential due to the increased ownership of firearms in our area, it rests heavily on their minds. Yet, they are punished for bringing their fear to light.

As a parent, I can only pray that some kind of solution can be found. These kids, who have so little power to impact their future safety right now, used what little platform they had locally to be part of a national, even international plea for help. Why should they be persecuted for 17 minutes of silence that spoke volumes? They stood for all those who no longer can due to unspeakable violence.

It is our job and our commitment as parents to be our children’s advocates and to do whatever we can to safeguard their futures, shouldn’t we all stand next to them and encourage them in their time of need?

In conclusion, I have been informed that there were numerous schools that also did enforced detention on the participants at their schools for walking out but assured the students and parents that this would not be part of their permanent scholastic record. After contacting the principal, I gather that this will also be the case in the Wayne Highlands School District. I am glad that there is at least this small show of support for our kids, who bravely took this action even though they did not know ahead of time whether this would go on their transcripts or not. They should be given the respect they deserve.

[Lisa Wilson is the parent of a daughter in the Wayne Highlands School District.]

 

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