The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Walkouts are Ineffective

Photo by Nathan Deychman

Photo by Nathan Deychman

Nathan Deychman, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Students from high schools across MCPS have been taking to the streets since Election Day in protest of its results and the current state of our nation’s ideals.

According to the MCPS Regulation Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, students have a right to assemble for discussions of issues of importance to them and to demonstrate peacefully.

However, the question is not whether these students have the right to protest, but rather if it is the correct thing to do. The short answer is no.

During school hours, students should be in school. Skipping class to hold a sign and yell about something you cannot change is detrimental and a waste of time. If students want to exercise their right to protest, the time to do it is after school or on the weekend, not when they should be in the classroom.

A strong majority of the protesting students are not even of voting age, and their voices simply cannot be listened to in an official capacity by people in positions of power. Yes, it is incredibly important for young people to stand up for what they believe in and voice their opinions and concerns, but not like this.

These students are not protesting for equality or peace, they are directly protesting the president-elect.

Our students should know better than to take a day off and protest democracy.

Protesting comes with responsibilities, and part of those responsibilities is protesting in an organized, peaceful manner. Peaceful protest is a vital part of our society, but when students are walking miles off school grounds and getting into fights, a line has been crossed.

During a protest held by Richard Montgomery, a student was charged with assault after attacking another student who wore a hat that read “Make America Great Again.” Any so-called “peaceful protest” loses all legitimacy once violence becomes involved.

Fortunately, MCPS realized that the protests had gone too far, and decided to intervene.
Superintendent Jack Smith issued a video statement Nov. 16 explaining that students were no longer allowed to leave school in order to protest, and any students that did so would be subject to disciplinary action.

The video could not have come at a better time or have issued a clearer message. Every time students walk out of school and protest, it does more harm than good. Student protesters block streets and waste taxpayer money to provide police presence to watch over them and city workers to clean up after the protests.

Frankly, for all that trouble, a little media attention is not worth it. The more students that protest, the more other students are influenced to do the same to seek the attention of the media. Fortunately, the protest efforts have been largely subdued and the superintendent has set a strong precedent of authority over the student body.

In this day and age, it is more important than ever for everyone’s voices to be heard. This includes students. Current students are our nation’s future, and they deserve to speak their mind.

Unfortunately, MCPS students failed to grasp that if they want to change something, the way to do it is to address an audience with their message. Talking to those in charge directly is more efficient than simply walking out of schools. Nothing will ever be gained from a protest of a few hundred high school students. chanting in protest of the president.

Protesting is one of the most important tools we have as students in a free country to have our voices heard. Yet, we must learn how to utilize our voices and truly make an impact.

Next time students want to bring about change, perhaps they should seek out congressmen of lobbying groups. Stay in school and keep it peaceful.

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