To Walk Out or Not Walk Out?

As many of you are probably aware of today is  ” National Walk Out Day.”  Schools stretching the whole way across the US are holding peaceful protests,  as students walk out of their schools at 10am today.  They are doing it in memory of the 17 Parkland High School victims who were shot and killed one month ago today.

There have been differing views about this day and I would like to hear the opinions of my readers. There are many schools and parents that are supporting it, encouraging the students to use their voice and send a message to the government. A message to the government that things need to change! There are also schools and parents against it.

One High School principal  from Texas created a stir among parents when he sent a letter home that said very bluntly that any child that walks out of the school on March 14th will face 3 days of in-school suspension.  That he doesn’t care if 500 students walk out, they will all face suspension. His letter was very cold.

What caused a lot of parents to fire back at him was due to the one phrase that he stated in the letter.  I cannot repeat it verbatim but it mainly said how he will not allow any disturbance and interruptions to interfere with the structured learning environment of his school.

Well, can you imagine what the parents comeback was.  “What will happen to your structured environment when gun shots ring out?  That so many students learning environments have already been fatally disturbed and interrupted. ”

There have been very popular Universities that have made statements supporting the students who walk out. Telling the students to not worry if their school takes  disciplinary action taken against them for walking out, that it will not hinder them getting accepted into the University. I know some schools who were close enough to Washington,  D.C. that were planning bus trips to D.C. to protest with signs in front of the White House.

What is your opinion?  I am actually encouraged to see how the Parkland students have reacted to this whole thing. They were the ones who set the ” Walk Out Day” across America in motion. They are standing up for change!  They are saying Enough is Enough! They have been brave and bold as several students from Parkland have spoken to members of Congress, the Senate and the President. I have been amazed at how they have articulated themselves so well with some of the speeches that I have heard from them.

Is Walking Out the right thing to do?  Yes, I know that there are some students who will just walk out to get out of class,  period.  Are there better ways to protest?

I think the way some schools are handling it including ours may be a better option. No, the kids are not allowed to walk out. We got a letter last week from the School Superintendent. Yes, they will face disciplinary actions if they walk out.  This letter though  had such a different tone to it versus the previous letter I had shared about from the Texas High School.

Our Superintendent recognizes that this is a huge issue and he believes that it should be given attention. At 10am all the students will gather in the assembly to have a moment of silence for the Parkland victims. After that moment of silence there will be an open mike for the students to share their concerns and thoughts  about the school shootings. Share what they think our school can do to be more safe.

I am glad that our school is not just ignoring this day due to the fact that they don’t want students walking out. I am glad that they are recognizing that this is a serious issue and our teens should be able to have a day of letting their voices be heard. With that said if our school was providing bus trips to Washington, D.C. today, yes my kids would be on the bus.

Washington listen up! Our future leaders, the youth of America are standing up. Enough is Enough. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now!

 

 

The Broken Heart

I really debated about posting this today, but it moved me so much that I had to. There is a voice that still needs heard from the aftermath of Florida’s Mass shooting tragedy.  That is the teacher’s voice.  I have several friends that are teachers and if its ever been a scary time to be a teacher, its now!

In Florida 2 teachers also died that horrible day, while trying to protect their students. You have heard that at other school shootings as well. These teachers dedicated their lives to teaching kids, to helping them to reach their full potential. I doubt that they ever dreamed that someday they would be giving their lives for their students!

The following is written from the heart of a teacher. She was just venting her feelings in a post and since then it has gone viral. You may have already seen it, but for those who didn’t and in honor of all the teachers out there I give you this. Words from a broken heart.

In 7th period, out of nowhere today, the fire alarms at my school went off. My students stood up as they always do when the alarm goes off for drills.

My brain immediately went into robot mode. I recalled the incident from yesterday like a mathematician calculating a problem on a whiteboard. Zero emotions. Zero fear.

“Wait,” I said, holding up my hand. The kids froze. “Let’s sit for now,” I said calmly. They sat, looking at me in terror.

“What if it’s like—!!!” One child cried out, but I turned, shook my head, and kept my hand held out.

“It’s not. Probably someone pulled the alarm. It’s okay. Let’s just wait.”

We waited. I kept eye contact with the teacher in the classroom across the hall from me. We both shook our heads.

Then I waited to hear gunshots.

Do you hear me?

I stood in front of your children and I waited to hear gunshots.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT????

I didn’t want to put them in lockdown just yet. Calmness and control is the only defense I have against a room of panicked teenagers. I turned and I looked every single one of them in the eyes and I nodded my head reassuringly. You are my babies. I have you. I have you.

I kept glancing across at the teacher across from me. He shook his head. We stayed still.

Suddenly, I saw our guidance counselor in the hallway. She beckoned for us to come out. I stuck my head out and said “it’s safe?” She said “Yes, let’s go out.”

“Come on, guys,” I said. “It’s all right. We can go outside.”

They behaved wonderfully. They followed me out calmly, we evacuated, and then we stood outside for 30 minutes while fire trucks and police cars checked out our building. It was a faulty alarm. Everyone was safe.

I took my children back inside. We had a successful drill. Everyone was safe. I even made a point to update parents and community that we were all safe.

School dismissed.

The kids left, chatting excitedly how they missed half a class period.

I sat at my desk.

My little sister came in to say goodbye for the day and I lost it. Sobbing, snot coming out, face burning, nauseated.

I was waiting to hear gunshots. I was waiting to hide my kids. I was waiting for the shots.

I’m home and I’m angry.

I stood in front of your kids and waited to die for them.

I STOOD IN FRONT OF YOUR KIDS AND WAITED TO DIE FOR THEM!

(Shared with permission from Stephanie Kuzy Jenkins , image via JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty)