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Editorial: How can we be upset with them?

Congratulations to those of us who went through school at a time when school shootings weren’t a thing we thought about. I had metal detectors at my high school randomly, for our safety, although most of the students were certain they were just looking for our banned cell phones.

But shootings? We didn’t practice active shooter drills. We had police officers in our halls, and truancy officers could be found most days outside the buildings. There were multiple fights a week, but none of us ever considered the possibility of someone walking into our high school and murdering us.

I don’t care what side of the “gun debate” you’re on, please agree that our students are growing up in very different times than we did. And on Wednesday, students across the country did something about it. They walked out of their classrooms, mostly quietly, and for 17 minutes asked for the adults of the country to do something to protect them.

How can we be upset with them?

“Congress shall make no law … abridging the … right of the people peaceably to assemble.”

That language is in our country’s First Amendment. The U.S. Constitution, the same one many people use when speaking about gun control, also gives us the right to stand up for what we believe in.

American students believe in being safe in their school buildings.

How can we be upset with them?

I made the mistake of reading opinions of adults on social media regarding this week’s walkout. Grown adults were calling students “idiots” and “sheep” and a few other words we won’t print in a family newspaper. These are the same people who say we don’t have a gun problem, we have a bullying problem. Well, sure, and it seems as though adults are leading that charge.

A group of students who watched their classmates be shot decided to work toward a change.

How can we be upset with them?

Is a walkout going to solve all our nation’s problems? Doubtful. But I commend these students for seeing an injustice and doing their part to enact change. The notion that because they’re young, they can’t do anything is antiquated, and quite frankly, wrong.

The Greensboro Four. A group of four college students, three of whom were teenagers, who led sit-in protests against segregation in Greensboro, North Carolina. The millions of teenagers who marched in Washington, D.C. protesting the Vietnam war and demanding Congress bring the troops home. Malala Yousafzai, who was just 10 when she was banned from attending school and began blogging about her experience of being under Taliban control.

How can we be upset with them?

Young people are the future. They will change the world. Even if it starts by missing 17 minutes of chemistry.


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