Here’s The Deal About Student Protests
Hi, my name is Jordan Ballard. Chances are that, if you’re reading this, you somehow know me. You probably know that I’m 19 years old and have been writing for a long time. I watch documentaries for fun, and I could talk your ear off about the things I’m passionate about. I’m sarcastic and outspoken and smarter than most people realize. More than likely, you also know that I’m a college student. Why do these things about me matter? This is an article about student protests, right? Well, the reason is that I’m climbing up on my own virtual soapbox today. I’m going to break a personal rule and write to you about politics. You need to know that I’m smart enough to do my own research and form my own opinions of what is going on.
Now, there are a few things that everyone needs to understand about the student protests.
- First, the students have a right to protest on school grounds if it does not impact the ability of a teacher to teach. This decision was upheld in a 1969 Supreme Court case about students wearing armbands to protest the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court ruled that students do not lose their constitutional rights at the doors of the school. They cannot be punished by the school for making a political statement during the operating hours.
- Second, there is a reason that these students have chosen to do this at school. They can be brushed aside if they’re standing on a street corner or silenced by those who don’t wish to hear them. Those at the Capitol, lawmakers, and politicians are not required to listen to the ideas of those under the registered voting age because (as of now) they pose no threat. What they can do is walk out of class. They can make a statement that is broadcast to this country that they cannot sit by and watch.
- Your opinion of their protesting doesn’t matter. Those students are still going to walk out of class if they feel that they should. They will do it even though they face punishment at school and at home. If you know anything about teenagers, telling them ‘no’ only encourages them to do it more. Besides, acknowledging the fact that they’re protesting is exactly what they want. You give them the power and the attention needed to make a difference everytime you comment on it.
It doesn’t matter what the students are protesting: gun violence, education, mental health. What matters is that they are brave enough to do something about it. These students are smart enough to recognize that something is going on in the world that they don’t agree with. So many have done their own research on the subjects that matter. It’s amazing, watching these students talk about things they’re passionate about. I’m only a few years older than they are, and I’m impressed because they care. I believe the world is better for it.
The last two generations grew up on a healthy diet of movies that taught them to rebel–Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, the list goes on. Now, these kids look at a world where their hope has been stripped away by the people who are supposed to protect them through sensible laws and executive action. Millions of kids, teenagers, young adults have been led to believe that they and their friends could make a difference in a world that they believe is broken. Can anyone really be shocked that they are fighting back?
This country was built on the backs of those who could not stand by and watch injustice happen to them. There are so many defining moments in our history that started with a spark, just one spark from one person that believed we could be better. Maybe those kids who are protesting today are the public figures of tomorrow, whose names line the same textbooks as Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr.