School-Sanctioned Walkouts Dupe Students: Guest MINDSETTER™ Daryl Gould

Monday, March 12, 2018
Guest MINDSETTER™ Daryl Gould

On Wednesday March 14, students across the country will be participating in the National Walkout to End Gun Violence. At 10:00 a.m., students plan to “walk out” of their classes/schools in a protest lasting 17 minutes, one minute for each life lost in the school shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. 

It goes without saying that the shooting and loss of life was abhorrent, and we need to address the many factors that lead to these events in an effort to prevent them in the future. The shooting has re-ignited the contentious gun control debate, which school administrators have now allowed to infect our schools.

I am a believer in social dissidence. It can be an effective tool in bringing attention to an issue and illicit change and evolution, if not a revolution. In many schools, however, this is not a protest, nor a true “walk out." This is an event that is being supported by administrators. In many schools, students will face no disciplinary action for their participation, and accommodations are being made for faculty and staff to supervise these events. 

My daughter is a 6th grade student at Kickemuit Middle School in Warren. A letter was sent to all parents at the school explaining the event and the safety precautions being taken to ensure a respectful and meaningful experience for those students that choose to participate in this optional event. 

However, although the event shares the same date, time, and duration as the national gun control walk-out, it is not being characterized as such. Our children are being duped into participating in a political protest under the guise of it being a type of memorial or show of solidarity with the students at MSD High. 

This poses a challenge for a variety of reasons. First, the notion that this event is a show of civil disobedience is laughable. Children who participate will face no disciplinary action for participating and administrators are facilitating the walk out. Are our children to believe that protest comes with the approval and assistance of the authority you are supposedly resisting? Imagine re-writing history and having “protests” in which police escorted protesters, K-9s guarded them, and water cannons were employed for amusement. The people protesting would almost certainly remain oppressed.

Secondly, it's no secret that public school administrators and teachers, as a whole, are left-leaning groups. Would these students receive the same accommodations if they were to walk out in favor of 2nd Amendment rights, against standardized testing, or in true opposition of the indoctrination centers we call government or public schools? Administrators should not be picking and choosing which issues our children have approval to protest. Disciplinary code should be enforced fairly and consistently. At best, the practice is irresponsible, at its worst, it is heading down a slippery slope in which our children will be taught with political biases of administrators and used as a pawn in political games. 

In defense of this “walk out," I have heard that it is not about gun control. I'm not buying it and nor should you. If next Saturday, March 17, I dress in green and march down Thames Street in Newport, I can profess that I am there to show pride in my English heritage, but given the time, date and location, who would believe that I'm anything but Irish. 

I have and will teach my children about these issues. I have instilled in them the importance of standing up for what you believe in. If your child is supportive of the true meaning of the event, gun control, I implore you to guide them to truly stand up. Actual protesters will be the ones remaining outside the school after the initial 17 minutes are over.

Daryl Gould
Daryl Gould ran for State Representative in District 67 (Warren-Barrington) in 2016 as a Libertarian. 

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