Civil Disobedience

Protest can take many forms, and, although marches and public displays may come to mind first, civil disobedience is one form that can be often overlooked. Civil disobedience is a type of protest: the act of refusing to comply with laws in a form of protesting. There are many people that have displayed the courageous act of civil disobedience, but there are even more who haven’t and, in a district like CHCCS, I think it’s unfortunate how many are in the latter group.

On March 10, students all over the nation walked out of their schools at 10 a.m. to commemorate the 17 lives lost in Parkland, Florida and to call attention to the need for more safety within schools. In some schools, students were disciplined for the act of walking out, but in CHCCS, not one student received any sort of discipline.

One could ask, then, if perhaps that lack of punishment was one reason that turnout was so high. There was no civil disobedience involved in the March 10 walkout. People strolled out of class, listened to some speeches, and then went back to class. However, I believe that the next student-led walkout was not same.

April 20 was 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Jefferson County, Colorado that saw 12 students killed. On this day, Parkland students involved in the Enough movement planned for students across the nation to walkout again at 10 a.m., but, this time, to not go back. Students were instead encouraged to go to local officials and push their demands regarding gun laws and safety in school.

Well, walking out of school for the entire school day is considered skipping. So I wondered how many students would express interest in this walkout. With athletic games, college transcripts and all around fear of getting in trouble, I doubted that support would be very high. Privileged students are afraid to harm their futures and afraid of actual civil disobedience. I believe that many students are accustomed to having things handed to them. In a competitive district with opportunities to engage and be involved in any- thing that you want, most students have not had to fight for anything more than their GPAs.

After the walkout, my theory was shattered just a little. As predicted, students still managed to try and get around the punishments. People got notes for “educational opportunities” or came back after they rally ended. However, there were some students that believed in and knew about civil disobedience. It’s the acts of these individuals that catch the attention of lawmakers and public officials to decide we need to do something.

So, almost a month later, the conversations have ceased, and the student activist have gone back behind the scenes, but what’s next? Is this enough for one year, for one high school career, or will the conversation continue?