Whether it was in memory of those murdered, in support of tighter gun control or great security on school campuses or a get-out-of-class free card depends upon who you ask and your perspective.
What’s striking is the number of administrations across the country that gave students carte blanc to walk out of their classes in the middle of the school day.
Yes, the school shooting across our continent may have raised anxiety among students, although Pleasanton police have a consistent presence on our local campuses.
The horrible irony in the Florida massacre is that it is a flat-out failure of school officials, the FBI and local law enforcement. All three agencies received numerous calls warning about the shooter’s social media posts. They took no action, the responding officer did not enter the school and, as a result 17 lives were lost.
The challenge is what is the best response. The anti-gun folks immediately wanted to further stiffen gun control laws.
With the magnitude of the tragedy—although almost 50 percent fewer students died than perished due to a madman with a hand gun at Virginia Tech—politicians felt compelled to do something.
Politicians in Florida of both parties quickly passed legislation stiffening age requirements to purchase rifles, while House of Representative passed a bill allocating more money for school safety. Never mind, that some of these shootings (Connecticut) and the murder rates (think Chicago and Baltimore or Oakland) have taken place in states with stringent gun
Others advocated for hardening school sites with armed teachers or guards and metal detectors (these are used at some schools battling gang violence). A high school shooter was killed today by an armed school resource officer after injuring two students with his firearm.
Pleasanton Superintendent David Haglund’s letter to parents indicated that the district would welcome more conversations about this issue and others. Conversation and discussion is good—sanctioning further mid-day walkouts without consequence is not.
We all have a right to protest and take acts of civil disobedience. Cut out of class and there should be consequences. Protesting before or after school is fine—during the school day, there should be consequences unless district leaders are rolling over.
Another question: what if the walkout were about an issue that conservatives cared about—or whackos on both sides of the political spectrum embraced. What’s the district’s position then?