As previously stated, the opinions of this guest poster are their own, and do not reflect in any way, shape or form the opinions of Ted Rall or anyone else who posts here. This is here to provoke discussion.
Ha! Ha! Ha! You were played.
You didn’t have a walkout. You had a seventeen-minute recess. The walkout was yours in name only. You should feel a bit silly. It was embarrassing to watch your Abby Hoffman moment.
Superintendents, administrators and police chiefs shaped and framed the walkouts. Principals directed them. The school board sent letters to your parents, keeping them informed.
On March 14, when the curtain went up on your little walkout, school grounds had already been cordoned off. “Cordoned off,” my little darlings, means no one gets in and no one gets out. When an area has been cordoned off, political possibilities as well as any publicity you are seeking are cut off as well.
Three unmarked police cars were in the parking lot and two regular police cars were parked at the entrance to the school. Uniformed officers were at the building’s entrances.
You were led out under a heavy police presence. The town’s entire police force must have been there. You might just as well as have been walking out in chains. My good humor was quickly being restored.
You little dumplings were led out without fanfare by your principals. Thank goodness no one saw you for it would have been clear that it was not a walkout. No press, no news media whatsoever, no civic groups, not even parents. I was laughing from a window on the third floor.
The school’s administration indulged you and it was hilarious that those of you who walked out failed to realize that. Assistant principals ensured a smooth flow of traffic as you followed your principal wherever he led you. You didn’t resist. You demonstrated no power, no rebellion against authority. Your leaders didn’t even get to lead you. Then you milled around in little bands on the pavement, taking selfies. It looked uncomfortably cold out there. Finally, you were herded safely back in the school. Adults commanded and you obeyed.
You probably don’t even know what a walkout really is.
For the past several weeks, we have been expected to take an intelligent interest in this event. Everyone has been oddly reluctant to denounce you. Everyone wants to be seen as supportive. Celebrities want to pat your heads. When will this adulation end?
I am not in adulation of you. A walkout has no place in a high school. It is a taboo that ought never be broken. Many of you have no idea why you walked out. You were on your phones most of the time. You weren’t taking action. You were just getting out of class.
Many of you kids are absolutely brutal to each other. You are merciless in your teasing. I have probably reamed some of you for what you have said to your classmates. You probably play a role in creating these school shooters, tipping them over the edge.
You could have used those seventeen minutes to begin to address some of the social inequities in your school. You could have tutored someone who was struggling. You could have shared a snack with someone who doesn’t have a lot of friends. You could have read a book…oops, you are the first generation not to read and as Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington D.C. public schools and founder of Students First, has noted, “the first generation of American students to be less educated than the previous one.”
You could have done a lot more than trot outside. But bless you, you had your walkout.
Cheers to school districts who refused to accommodate you and gave you a cut.
Cheers to students who challenged the walkout and stayed in class.