Sometimes you see them standing on a corner or waiting for a bus. Sometimes you see them on a basketball court or baseball field. This week, you saw them marching in the streets, walking out of classrooms and speaking eloquently on the news.
As a teacher, I know what I should say about the missed instructional minutes or even the blatant disobedience of rules and order. To that, I say we lose instructional minutes all the time over things far less important than a student realizing they have rights and actually taking time out to exercise those rights.
I have been an educator for almost 11 years now, and I don’t recall a time students made me more proud than this week.
I am blessed to teach social studies and walk students through history in an engaging way. But let’s be honest, we can only make a bunch of dead people and old stories so interesting. This week, instead of learning history, kids around the country made history. Whether they win or lose their fight for change, they are all truly winners and will go down in history as important figures.
Hasn’t this always been the way?
Young people started the Underground Railroad. Young people created the images that woke a nation up during Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. Young people desegregated school – hello, Ruby Bridges. This week’s actions are just as much a part of the fabric of our nation as the second amendment could ever be! The right to equal protection under the law.
I truly hope that teachers and parents all over this country will take a moment to listen. These students have something powerful to say, and being heard is a powerful thing in itself. Letting students know that their voices matter and not viewing this moment as “just another rebellious act” could be a huge turnaround for our nation and this generation.
Now that they have spoken and taken action, how will we respond?
Will we reply with more infighting and debates over things that aren’t really focused on issues? Our response as adults, role models and leaders is just as important as their action. Let’s respond soberly, accurately, and justly. This generation deserves it!