Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dear Students,

Tomorrow’s the big day. You’ve been planning your walkout for the past 2 weeks. I’m sure you’ve even daydreamed about the moment you’d stand up in the middle of your class, walk past your teacher and through your school’s front doors, and spend 17 minutes out of class to remember the 17 victims of the Parkland shooting. You’re ready to stand up to the NRA and the legislators receiving millions of dollars from the largest gun lobby in America. You’ve had #ENOUGH. As the resilient and fiery Emma Gonzalez said, it’s time for your generation to “CALL B.S.”

As a teacher and aspiring educational leader, I say in all sincerity…

Thank you.

Hope Lies in the Proles Children

Over the years, there have been so many comments about today’s youth. That you’re uninspired. You’re apathetic. You care only about yourselves.

They’ve said that your top priorities are social media, Netflix, and generally engaging in reckless behavior.

However, things have changed. As you all love to say…you’re now “woke.” It’s a beautiful thing.

Currently, I’m reading 1984 with a couple of my 8th grade ELA classes. Just the other day we were discussing the Proles and how Winston knew that things could change if they decided to rise up against Big Brother. You see, the Proles were often intentionally distracted by vices the government threw their way. As a result, they became ignorant to the actions of their leaders (Hence, the motto “Ignorance is Strength”). Until they became aware of the manipulation, Big Brother would never fall out of power.

My kids made the argument that today’s students have been treated like proles for too long. They said you’ve all been distracted by technology, celebrities, etc. I can’t say I disagree. For that reason, I’m excited for you. I’m excited for the future. You have the power to make an impact on our country.

Take that responsibility seriously.

Understand What You’re Fighting For

While I’m sure that the majority of you reading this letter are surely walking out of class with the best intentions, I know that some may be unaware of the true purposes for the organization of tomorrow’s walkout. To those young children, be sure you’re informed. You’ll inevitably encounter someone who asks you, “So give me one reason why you’re participating in this event?” The more participants able to speak to the problems facing our students, schools, and country, the stronger your voice becomes. Here’s some talking points for you to consider:

  • You want to remember the 17 innocent lives tragically lost in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
  • You’re not trying to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
    • You’re not asking for the 2nd Amendment to be repealed.
    • Students ARE asking for a ban on assault weapons.
    • You DO want stronger background checks for new gun purchases.
    • Students DEMAND safer schools across the country.
    • You WANT better mental health care.

Please don’t go outside laughing it up with your pals about last night’s epic round of Fortnite. Don’t spend the entirety of the 17 minutes on your phone. Be sure you leave your classes and building in a quiet, respective manner. Finally, be sure to return to class in the same quiet and respective manner.

If you know why you’re participating in tomorrow’s event and you do so in a respectful and united front, you’ll be a part of something truly special. You’ll be starting a movement that knows no boundaries.

Moving Forward

While tomorrow’s walk may be in response to the Parkland shooting, use your voice to fight for all social injustices facing our nation’s students. Continue to fight to end systemic racial inequities in education. Continue on the crusade to end bullying. Lobby for stronger laws to protect LGBTQ youth. Fight for women’s rights. Be persistent in the pursuit to end rampant sexual abuse against females all over the world.

In closing, know that there are countless educators on your side. We’ve always been by your side. Even if you didn’t see it or believe it, we’ve always wanted the best for each and every one of you. Secretly, we’ve wanted to see the youth of America rise up in such a strong way for so long.

Rest assured, tomorrow’s event will be a moment to remember.

We’re proud of you.


One Educator