From The Weekly Standard, March 26, 2018. (bold print and underlining are mine)
“The school walkout—or to speak correctly, the Enough! National School Walkout—took place on March 14. The point of the event was to call attention to the need for gun-control legislation. Students were to walk out of their classrooms at 10:00 a.m. for 17 minutes to remember the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Thousands of students took part in the nationwide event, which was duly pronounced a success by the enthusiastic news media. The Enough! walkout was planned by the organizers of the 2017 Women’s March, and like that event it was hard to know what the aim was or what constituted success. The spectacle of kids standing around in school parking lots instead of sitting in classrooms seems unlikely to pressure state and federal lawmakers to alter their views on gun legislation.
“The most passionate among the protester-students—my teenaged daughter holds this view even more firmly than I do—feel strongly about the issue of gun-control precisely because they know hardly anything about it. Which is why, as anybody with a touch of common sense might have predicted, a huge proportion of the walkout participants had no interest in addressing gun violence and mainly enjoyed the chance to get out of class and crack jokes with friends.
“But a walkout is supposed to be an act of rebellion, of resistance. It involves risk. Like a strike at a factory—if you participate, you might get what you want or you might lose your job. The Enough! walkout was a safe gesture, honored by our governmental and cultural authorities. The national news media—consider the lavish coverage in the New York Times—practically begged the kids to go through with it and heaped praise on them when they did. A more conformist rebellion would be difficult to imagine. These woke revolutionaries simply did what they were told, when they were told, by faraway professional agitators.”
The article is quite a bit longer, but I wanted to summarize the most important part. “Modern American high schools are places of intense conformity. Fear of exclusion cripples and terrorizes its young victims; often you can see it on their faces. They do and think what they’re told. They even protest as they’re told. Some rebellion.”
Meanwhile, at New Prague high school in Minnesota, senior Andy Dalsin, who dared to make a sign expressing his own opinion, was threatened with arrest for that crime. As can be seen in the photo (featured image, above), Dalsin got about 50 other students to sign his poster. When he went outside to participate in the walkout, Dalsin was confronted by New Prague’s principal — Lonnie Seifert. School police officer John Madigan followed close behind.
As Dalsin stood in the back of the gathering holding up his sign, Seifert approached and told him to hand it over. Citing a school district policy prohibiting the “distribution” of “non-school-sponsored material,” Seifert told Dalsin that he could not display the message because he had not cleared it with school administrators 24 hours in advance of the protest. Dalsin respectfully refused to turn over his sign, arguing that he had a constitutional right to display it. Seifert then asked Dalsin to leave school grounds, to which the student also refused, once again citing his First Amendment right to express his political opinions in school. Finally, Seifert upped the ante by threatening Dalsin with arrest. As the senior recalled, Seifert told him: “I’m going to have to have Officer Madigan escort you off the premises. If you don’t comply, I will have him arrest you.”
My point in presenting these two articles is an old one. I wrote this August 16, 2017. virtue signaling Most modern “protests” have become simply a form of mass “virtue-signaling”, demonstrating cost-less “compassion”, and the only risks are taken by those who have a contrary opinion, i.e. non-Leftists. Bureaucratic rules, especially like those enforced by the EEOC, are used to silence or punish (if they won’t be silenced) dissenters to the virtue-signaling movements. Can legally enforced conformity be far behind? It is quaint to think how many of us used to worry that the Right–conservatives–would usher in the 1984-style totalitarianism. It is clear now that such is more likely to come from Left field!