The Generation Everyone Wants to Dismiss is Reminding Us How it is Done.
It is certainly interesting that while we as a country just spent a month celebrating our nation’s rich black history, and are currently turning the spotlight to the countless contributions of women for the month of March, young students in our country are taking note and engaging in a meaningful peaceful protest.
With the non-violent teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. still ringing fresh in our ears, we are watching students across America walk out of their classrooms into the open air to stand together.
Seventeen lives were lost in one of our nation’s schools in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018. Today, students, teachers, and faculty members will stand together in silence, one minute for each life lost. Seventeen minutes total.
Meanwhile, members of the generations that peacefully stood up for civil rights and protested wars are quickly passing judgement. The intent of the walk out is being taken out of context by many. Common themes include the notion that schools should not become involved in politics, students shouldn’t miss time in class, and especially bizarre, that students at this age are just parroting their parents and don’t really have opinions of their own.
Why are people acting so surprised that students today are taking a stand? That is literally what our country was built on, and how important changes have been fueled in the decades since.
The generation filling our schools today is often dismissed as lazy, spoiled, and “special snowflakes” who can’t withstand the slightest discomfort.
Imagine taking time out of your day at school, time that should be spent learning, so that your teacher and classmates can practice safety drills in the event of a live shooter.
Imagine walking into a school building every day, wondering if today is the day that you will have to put all of that practice to use: crouching under your desk frantically texting your family, hoping the shots you hear don’t hit your friends, classmates, teachers, or you.
Imagine, if you will, standing alongside your friends and classmates for 17 minutes in silence. Hearing the names of people possibly your same age who left behind classroom seats, lockers, bedrooms – now empty of the human spirit.
Are these things done without discomfort? Doubtful.
Like every generation before it, our students today are participating in something they believe in, even though it will be hard and emotionally draining.
Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal shared, “I stand with my students! I stand with my teachers, school leaders, and support staff! I believe it is important that we as a school district unite in support of this national school walk out to send a clear message to state and federal lawmakers that action is needed to update gun laws and ensure our schools are safe and secure learning environments.”
These students make time to practice safety drills, so they can certainly spend less than half an hour in solidarity in support of lives lost and the desire to go to school every day in a safe environment. If that makes them “snowflakes” then count us in on that moniker, and we will wear the name proudly.
Why? Because when something matters, you stand, no matter your age. This generation cares. A lot.
We see you. We hear you. We are proud of you. And we stand with you.