Principal Matt Creasman handled it perfectly.
Faced with 200 Northeast Magnet High students leaving classes Wednesday to protest school violence, Creasman’s response to the disruption had three components.
▪ Allow students to protest, standing up for their beliefs and honoring students killed across the country.
▪ There has to be a penalty for leaving school. "One of the central elements to civil disobedience is understanding that with the act, comes a consequence,” he wrote in a letter to parents.
▪ The penalty is perfect: lunch detention, where Creasman will facilitate a discussion about school safety and get students’ input.
So Northeast students were allowed to peacefully protest, and their penalty is a chance to voice opinions on their own school’s safety.
(Creasman’s letter to parents is, in this high school parent’s opinion, welcome and appreciated, too.)
Elsewhere in Wichita, first-grader Athene Walston stood outside Buckner Performing Arts Magnet with her father, Matt. The lone student leaving the building to protest, her father explained that gun violence is more than a high school problem.
The sight of a first-grader holding a sign that says “enough” is significant given she could easily represent the 20 first-graders who died from a 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
Those who would say students shouldn’t leave class to protest are missing the bigger picture. Recent school shootings, such as the Feb. 14 massacre of 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., are alarming to children in an age where they see the pain and tragedy without turning on a television.
Support and celebrate kids who are grown up enough to not remain silent as the adults who serve them fail to come up with meaningful solutions.