Student Walkouts
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never miss viewpointsKerby Anderson

When school is out, that is a time when administrators should establish needed policies before schools and colleges reconvene. High on the list is to develop policies concerning student walkouts.

In a recent article, Stanley Kurtz reminds us how the country has been swept up in successive waves of disorder and lawlessness on campuses. These range from protests about racism to protests about the election of Donald Trump to high school walkouts about guns to recent pro-Hamas demonstrations.

He reminds us that missing from all of this is any trace of accountability. Speakers are shouted down. Jewish students and conservative students are threatened. And high school students not only walk off campus but are often praised and even authorized by faculty.

In many cases, civic education in the schools has been co-opted and converted into a pretext for political activism under euphemisms like “civic engagement” or “action civics.” Students are not only encouraged to protest but are often given course credit for protesting or lobbying.

The Supreme Court has ruled in Tinker v Des Moines that students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door. But that case involved students wearing black armbands to class, not allowing students to just walk out of class and head to a protest off campus without any supervision from the school.

Also, that case assumed that the public schools would be neutral, but we now have cases of schools promoting protests and taking sides. Students face teacher pressure and peer pressure, along with pressure from outside the school. And there is a concern over student safety and the school’s liability.

It is time for accountability. It is time to develop and promote policies concerning student walkouts.viewpoints new web version

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