Just four short years ago while finishing my senior year of high school, the thought of being involved in national politics not only never crossed my mind, but there were few high school seniors at Pottsgrove High in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, that would make such an admission.
I had absolutely no idea what to think of politics back then, and at 18 taking a stance on either side of a political issue was simply ridiculous. At that time cheerleading was the center of my universe and every other responsibility seemed to float around it, and I assure you, politics was not even close. At 18 years old, I was aware that I had every answer to every question. Now, as a senior in college, I reflect on my growing knowledge and how little I really did know at the age of 18.
When I was a senior in high school I decided that it was in my best interest to move out of my parents’ house. This was not a well thought out plan due to my lack of money, job and driver’s license. In the end I was forced to run back home with my tail between my legs, pleading with mommy and daddy to let me live with them again. At 18 years old I failed out of my first semester of college due to partying and oversleeping. Four years ago, I was making decisions for myself, without worrying about who my actions would affect. Whether it was negatively affecting my parents, my friends or my future, I didn’t seem to care. I was almost always thinking of how decisions affected me short-term, whereas now I’m thinking about long-term effects.
Now, looking at these students fighting to enter the political realm, I am worried that they may be getting involved in something they know so little about, and are not worried about the long-term effects. In the past week, high schools across America have turned into hotbeds of political activism. Gun control has been a major issue for years, but now social media is insistent that children get involved in the lawmaking sphere. This more recent cry for gun control has risen due to a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. I personally cannot fathom having to endure a tragic event such as that, but that still does not give students the right to walk out of class nor does it give teachers the right to push them out the door. Of course, all students have the right to act as they see fit. But, that still does not mean that they are exempt from consequence. Thanks to the First Amendment, students have the right to peacefully protest. But does that give them the right to disrupt their midday class?
This past week I was notified that Pottsgrove had scheduled their own walkout — at this time more than 700 students participated in the protest. Both students and teachers came together to plan this event focused on gun control. While I can appreciate teachers allowing students to help in the decision-making process, I do not believe that these actions are in the job description of an educator. As a tax-paying citizen of Pennsylvania, it is my belief that the job of our educators is to educate, not create political activists.
This alarming political move to infiltrate schools while using children to push a political agenda is beyond disturbing. Pottsgrove was one of numerous schools that overtly sympathized with its students, while pushing an unnecessary political agenda.