Are school-wide walkouts a constructive form of student protest?


Yes- Gwen Klein

Students from Blair kept one eye on the clock during their third period and as soon as the hour hand struck 10, they were up and out of their seats. One by one, they filed out of their classrooms and outside onto the Blair football field. The stadium, filled with the sounds of students shouting into bullhorns and hovering news helicopters overhead, was thick with the students’ energy and excitement. And then they began to walk.
Walkouts are a means for students to disagree with the system in a peaceful manner. They also present an active way for students to (literally) stand up against a designated structure.
Many argue that letters or petitions tend to be more effective measures of disagreeing with the system, to ensure that the full argument gets into the hand of those who they are fighting against. Yet, if a walkout is planned correctly, it will surely make a larger statement.
The initiative for the most recent walkouts in this county was the election of Donald Trump. These local protests received attention from nationally-renowned news sources, such as CNN and The Washington Post among others. If those students had chosen to, instead, write a petition or send a letter, there is no way it would have gotten the same national attention.
This image of students flooding the streets of downtown Silver Spring leaves a much more profound image than a simple letter or petition does. Not only were the protests a visual means for viewing the large number of students who chose to stand against Trump, but the fact that the walkouts were student organized makes a statement itself.
Although it may not be asking for one specific policy change like a petition would, if it is properly organized, it is clear what the students are taking a stand against.
The attention received by the walks will most likely lead to interviews, which would give students a platform to explain their motives for the walkout in detail.
In Blair’s case, for example, since the event got large publicity, multiple students were interviewed and they explained exactly why they chose to walkout.
Some argue that because walkouts require students to miss class time, they are not productive. But, if the cause is central enough to the students at the school, and the students feel passionately enough, the consequences will be worked out accordingly. At Blair, teachers were, for the most part, understanding and they supported their students practicing their first amendment rights in a meaningful and peaceful way.
For students who were too young to vote in this election, the walkouts have proved to be an outlet for their anger where they could publicly express their opinions, and have been effective in drawing attention to the cause.

No- Ava Castelli

Walkouts during school do not benefit anyone. The students who walk out miss their classes and their opportunities to learn. It is understandable that one would want to stand up for what they believe in, but walkouts will not change the fact that Trump is president.
The process of electing the president is through the use of the Electoral College, which although some may think is a broken system, has been around since its establishment in 1787 and won’t stop now.
We live in a country where we have more freedom than we think and just because Trump is president doesn’t mean he has control over everything. Yes, he is the Commander-in-Chief, but keep in mind that whatever decisions he makes have to go through the other branches of government and the system of checks and balances.
An alternative to school-wide walk outs can be peaceful protests on the weekends or writing letters to local representatives. Peaceful protests on the weekends or even after school are better than doing it during class time.
This way you can still stand up for what you believe in and have your voice heard while still learning during the school hours. You don’t penalize yourself or the teachers trying help you.
The other alternative is writing a letter to your local representative appropriately addressing what it is that concerns you and how you want to solve it. Writing a letter takes no more than 20 minutes and allows one to get down all their thoughts and reasoning.
Walkouts seem to be protesting how Trump won the election when really, if you want to make a difference, you should protest by trying to better what it is that upsets you. Protesting how Trump won will not change the fact that he did and it is over.
I agree that Trump’s choice of words and ideals were disrespectful and offensive but in order to unite the country we have to move past it and look toward the future.
Instead of interrupting classes, students should discuss in a more diplomatic manner their grievances regarding Donald Trump.
The prospect of a walkout can encourage some students to participate solely as a means of skipping class. The motives of these students tarnish the true purpose of the students who mean to exercise their freedom of speech and assembly. Students can achieve more without peers taking advantage of their efforts.
If you still think that school-wide walkouts are the best way to fight the issue of Trump, just remember that he has four years to prove us wrong or right and that we can’t judge now how he will run his presidency.
If you want your voice to be heard, put your own education before it. Although school-wide walkouts are loud with people chanting and holding signs, the only one being impacted by them is you.