Why Are Schools Busing Students to Protests?
Today the Star Tribune reported that hundreds of students “walked out” of their schools to protest against guns and school shootings at the Capitol in St. Paul:
The article itself repeats the “walk out” characterization, and otherwise implies that the students were at the Capitol on their own initiative:
An idea that started with a little more than a dozen students ballooned into a huge crowd. Organizers of Wednesday’s protest said they turned to social media to mobilize students from different schools, urging them to wear their student colors and bring their loud voices.
Similar walkouts are planned for other dates in March and April — including the “March For Our Lives” protest organized by the Parkland students and scheduled for March 24 in Washington, D.C.
Asha Abdille and Fadumo Ege, seniors at St. Paul Central High School, were among those who participated in the walkout.
But here’s the thing: these students didn’t walk, they were bused. I happened to be at the Capitol yesterday while the demonstration was going on, and counted at least 12 buses from various St. Paul area high schools. Somehow, the buses don’t figure in the Strib’s story, and the Strib managed to post 17 photos and two videos without showing the buses even once.
“Schools have been supportive, but they didn’t endorse this,” said one of the protest leaders, Ella Doyle, a junior at Cretin-Derham Hall. “Nobody is getting punished for coming here today.”
If the schools didn’t endorse the protest, why did they provide buses to deliver students to the Capitol? To say that “nobody is getting punished” for participating is misleading at best.
For reasons that are hard to understand, metro public schools are encouraging their students to engage in demonstrations. One wonders how far this willingness extends. Will area schools bus their students to a pro-Second Amendment protest? To a demonstration against the forced unionization of teachers? To a tax cut rally at the Capitol? Somehow, I think the answer to those questions is No.
If our public and private schools are concerned about the safety of their students, they would do far better to examine their own security arrangements; to hire one or more armed guards, if they have not already done so; and to allow teachers with permits to carry guns on school premises. Eliminating the foolish “gun free zone” concept is an obvious first step toward making our children safer. For the schools, encouraging students to demonstrate in favor of ineffective and unconstitutional infringements of other peoples’ rights is mostly a dishonest way to pass the buck.