The Bad Man in the School Drill
We have let our nation's children down and this Wednesday they will be showing us the way
Every morning when I see my children off to school I say I love you and have a good day. As I watch them walk to the bus stop, I often think; will this be the last time I am going to see them? I don't think my parent's generation ever experienced this kind of fear, nor did my grandparents, but this generation does.
Carl Korn, spokesman for New York State United Teachers, said the state’s largest teacher union is encouraging its members to wear orange — the color adopted by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas students since the shooting — to honor the lives lost.
“Teachers teach students to be responsible citizens, and to be engaged in our democracy, so we support students when they want to speak out on matters of public importance such as this,” Korn said.
Letters from administrators in some Long Island districts have emphasized the potential for disciplinary measures.
Brenden Cusack, principal of Huntington High School, wrote that “an absence from class will not be considered an excused absence.” He also wrote: “Students may not disrupt the educational process and may not infringe upon the rights of others who choose not to participate.”
Any walkout “will be monitored” by school staff, and a staging area on campus will be provided. “Students may not leave campus at any time during this event,” Cusack’s letter read.
On Tuesday night, on the eve of the walkouts, Huntington is hosting a forum called “How Can We Stop Mass Shootings in Our Communities” that will be moderated by students.
In Rocky Point, Superintendent Michael Ring’s letter to the community said “organized student-led building walkouts, such as those being discussed nationally via social media, are not a viable option for our schools . . . No Rocky Point student will be permitted to leave the premises as part of any of these upcoming events” without appropriate permission.
The School Administrators Association of New York State, in a letter of recommendations published on the organization’s website, wrote about its research into ways that schools should handle planned student action.
“We have concluded that there is no one ‘correct’ approach,” the organization wrote. It also suggested that schools meet with their attorneys, and that various questions needed to be addressed: “Can you make a ‘walkout’ an optional school event? Should you? Is it OK with the district and student leaders? Does it have to be outside or could there be an inside assembly point?”