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Support students’ decision to speak up

Next generation of voters should be encouraged to protest, have voice heard

Students+gather+outside+Pullman+High+School+during+a+walkout+protesting+gun+violence.+Following+the+walkout%2C+several+students+were+threatened+with+detention+for+participating.
Students gather outside Pullman High School during a walkout protesting gun violence. Following the walkout, several students were threatened with detention for participating.

Students gather outside Pullman High School during a walkout protesting gun violence. Following the walkout, several students were threatened with detention for participating.

COURTESY OF ANDREW KUFFLER

COURTESY OF ANDREW KUFFLER

Students gather outside Pullman High School during a walkout protesting gun violence. Following the walkout, several students were threatened with detention for participating.

Editorial Board

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High school students across the country, including Pullman, walked out of class March 14 in protest of frequent school shootings. As a result, students who participated faced repercussions in the form of detentions and suspensions.

Regardless of your opinion on gun control, students should be commended, not reprimanded, for making their concerns heard.

While school shootings have become frequent, the current student protests stemmed from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Feb. 14, a student at the high school killed 17 individuals, mostly classmates. According to CNN, it was the eighth school shooting where someone was injured or killed in 2018. There have been nine more since Parkland.

Students are rallying to highlight their fear of simply entering their schools each day. They know this issue intimately, and to pretend we have a better understanding simply because we’re older is pure arrogance.

Punishing them for speaking up is even worse. Such a response silences them and trivializes their experiences.

There are few groups in our society with less access to democracy than high school students. Though unable to vote until they turn 18, they are still impacted by the actions — or lack thereof — taken by Congress.

All high school students can do is speak out. Despite this, a Pullman High School student was punished with an unexcused absence and said he was threatened with detention before the walkout. He and his fellow students did not let consequences stop them from being politically active.

All progress in the history of America can be traced back to the action of dedicated individuals, not politicians making campaign promises or CEOs magically deciding to treat their workers better.

Progress comes when people are so frustrated with society that they take to the streets and demand real change. That’s how Americans won the weekend and minimum wage. Hopefully, this is how we’ll win gun reform.

We won’t pretend to know the best way to end gun violence. We do know, however, that the changes these students are demanding should be taken seriously. If it doesn’t come from these walkouts, it will surely come four years from now when all of these students can vote.

We support them for walking out in the face of detention and suspension, for exercising their freedom of speech and expressing their opinions. We hope they continue to demand security and fundamental rights for themselves and others.

We also hope you will support them. You don’t have to agree with all of their points about guns, but you should recognize that these individuals will be the next generation of political activists. In a world increasingly disillusioned by politics, that is exactly what we need.

This isn’t about your stance on gun ownership, restriction or the potential banning of guns. It’s about people protesting injustice.

It’s about students fed up with being afraid to go to school.

It’s about the future generation demanding its share of democracy. That should never be denied.

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Support students’ decision to speak up