Commentary

Why and how schools should support today’s gun violence protests

In case you missed it, the good folks at the ACLU of North Carolina released an open letter to school officials on Monday in anticipation of today’s student-led walkouts to protest the nation’s gun violence epidemic. Check it out below.

Dear North Carolina School Administrators, Educators and Officials:

Young people across our state and our nation are grappling with the aftermath of the mass shooting at Parkland High School. Students in North Carolina, shaken by this tragedy and inspired by the courage of their peers in Florida, are choosing to express their voices. In this rare moment it is incumbent on all of us to support, rather than suppress, their civic participation-to show them that their voices matter.

As educators, this tragedy presents a unique opportunity to take essential lessons of civic responsibility and political discourse beyond the classroom. We encourage you as educators to guide your students toward healthy civic engagement and to teach them the value and history of peaceful protest in creating change in our great nation. Just 58 years ago, North Carolina high school students participated in sit-ins in Greensboro and sparked our nation to act against segregation. Those sit-ins showed us the power of student voices. Today, once again, students can use their voices to make a difference.

There are many ways that you can nurture your students’ participation in our democracy:

  • Do not punish students for participating in demonstrations
  • Create opportunities for open dialogue where students with different viewpoints can have meaningful discussions
  • Teach students about the history of student activism and how it has created positive change in our country

The First Amendment was created to protect the right of the people to speak freely and to peacefully assemble, precisely to inspire dialogue on difficult topics-conversations that are the backbone of a healthy democracy. We encourage you to support your students who have found the courage to express their voice. Thank you for respecting North Carolina students’ right to free speech.

Sincerely,

Chris Brook, Legal Director
Sneha Shah, Staff Attorney

 

Check Also

Editorials: Trump backs down, but GOP continues to block real immigration solutions

Be sure to check out the editorials from ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

GOP lawmakers want North Carolinians to make sweeping, permanent changes to the state Constitution a [...]

The lump started small and hid behind her ear. Harmless, the doctor said, nothing to worry about. So [...]

The Senate voted along party lines Tuesday night to overturn a partial judicial redistricting bill i [...]

Viola Williams has been crunching numbers and working out possible solutions since last week, when t [...]

From 1999-2016, opioid-related overdose fatalities increased by more than 800 percent in North Carol [...]

Would that North Carolina lawmakers had been so direct as “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman, a virulent white [...]

“I’m speechless.” So began the heartfelt lament of Rep. Verla Insko (D-Orange) late last Friday afte [...]

The post SB 711 – The pig’s roast appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]