PWCS Support in Peaceful Protests Againts Gun Violence
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Prince William County Schools is telling staff and students that they will be punished if they participate in the scheduled walkouts. The reasoning behind it is that it will be disruptive to the learning environments in the classrooms.
“PWCS recognizes your right to free speech and to protest, but these rights do not extend to disrupting classes or to leaving school. Disruptions are disrespectful to others and harmful to the learning environment, while leaving school without authorization might put your safety at risk.” (Steve Walts, Superintendent)
As United States citizens we have the right of free speech and protest. Walking out of class peacefully and quietly is not disruptive. And what is more harmful to our learning environment is the potential of having someone armed walk through our school doors and unleash havoc among the staff and students in the school as well as friends and family outside of school. What is harmful to our learning environment is thinking in every class “what would I do if it were to happen now?” That is what disrupts the learning in every classroom across the country.
“Students who cause disruptions or leave school without authorization will face disciplinary consequences, in keeping with the PWCS Code of Behavior.” (Steve Walts, Superintendent)
While the PWCS Code of Behavior is important to keep order and safety in the school, students rights to invoke change in the world we will one day lead, overpower the county’s rules.
“There are plenty of ways to show your feelings and support outside of school or when classes are not in session.” (Steve Walts, Superintendent)
It is necessary to show support and express ourselves in school because that’s where we feel the fear. That is where a school shooter will go. In class we constantly learn about the different movements that have taken the world by storm and simply want to be apart of this one that we hold so dear so that change can come. Adults always say that we won’t understand some of the things they do but that they do it to protect us. The adults leading this country now are protecting their right to own a gun over the life of their children. While the Second Amendment to the Constitution is important, I along with many others believe that our rights granted to us in the First Amendment come before the rights granted in the Second. Life. Liberty. And the pursuit of happiness.
We would not like to disrupt the classrooms, however it’s imperative that we do it now with peaceful protesting rather than later with a school shooting which would disrupt learning, as well as mental and emotional stability of the students and community for an extended period of time rather than a few days. Change is coming and it’s being lead by the students.
All we want from Prince William County Schools is for them to release a statement similar to Fairfax County Schools, ensuring that no disciplinary action will be taken against peaceful protesters.
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