And Then…A Walk Out!
Yesterday, on campus, my students staged a “walk out” in opposition to the election of Mr. Trump as president.
The “walk out was largely a construction of social media, and began at 11 o’clock, during period three. My period three class was interested, to be sure, but decided that our discussion was also interesting, and that they could leave during lunch, twenty minutes later. They proved to be correct, as at lunch time, the gates were opened, and that is when a huge percentage of the students left campus.
Apparently many of the high schools in the area were involved in the “walk out”, which one of my students told me later was “really big, but not very organized.” Some of the students were legitimately interested in exercising their free speech rights, which I respect deeply. A percentage of them just viewed it as “a cool thing to do”, and the student I was talking to said, “those kids usually got bored and went home, or to get hamburgers.” Still, the young man was very impressed by the number of students that gathered, from different high schools, and the fact that the “walk out” eventually got media attention.
Not every student walked out, though.
After lunch, I was left with the Goody Two Shoes of the Goody Two Shoes Set. That was usually single digits worth of students per class, and it created a thorny problem. The first problem was this: it would be stupid to do the lesson that I had planned. Why? Because I would just have to do it again on Monday, for the thirty to thirty five students that missed it.
I also felt that I should talk with the students, and address what was going on. So, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be penalizing anyone for being absent, and respected free speech immensely. I had a brief conversation with them about how the system works, and what the process of electing a president is, and what people’s actual rights were. That was pretty nice, and there were many questions.
It also didn’t take all period, so then I started helping with geometry homework, which everyone seemed to be having trouble with. It was nice to just be able to help that small group with problems in another class, to just do a solid for young people that I like.
Ultimately though, about half of a school day was pretty much thrown away as a result of the reaction to the election. For many of the so-called “at risk” students, I have to wonder at this. on the one hand, I want them to exercise their free speech, and to be politically active. On the other…they need to be in class, to graduate, and emerge from high school with some kind of future. For many, every minute of class actually matters.
I was torn about what to draw for this, and decided that I would just do one panel, focused on the students. Honestly, many of them are upset, scared…they don’t know what to do, and don’t understand the system at all. The students that stayed behind after the walkout tended to be intelligent, and very “by the book”, rule oriented students. I wanted to depict them with Linus, because Schulz (the writer/artist of “Peanuts”) said that Linus was”…my serious side, the house intellectual, bright, well-informed which, I suppose may contribute to his feelings of insecurity.”
He seemed like a good symbol of how the students that attended my class felt. Bright but insecure…perhaps as a result of being intellectuals, and having just enough knowledge of what was happening to be worried about it.
I considered having a panel with Cap replying to Linus…but is really didn’t seem necessary at all, after I drew Panel One.
Regardless of what your feelings, views, and politics are…just try to remember to be excellent to one another. It’s all that we can really do, from moment to moment.