Yes, I’ll admit the title is a bit cliche. But I have a right to be cliche; Don’t I? Well I think I do, don’t we all have a right to do whatever we want? Isn’t that what America is all about? Well the short and long answers are both the same; No.
Students in Ferndale and across the nation walked out of school on Friday in protest of the Iraq War. Was it within their rights to speak out against the war? I say yes. Was it within their rights to break school rules to do it? That answer is a bit fuzzy, since it is a school rule they broke, not a law.
Ferndale Principal Dawn Fairchild said the students were exercising their civil liberties, but they were warned there would be repercussions. Leaving class without authorization gets a student Saturday school, Fairchild said.
“We’re just being consistent with what we would do in any other situation,” she said.
Herald: Ferndale and Windward students leave school to protest Iraq War.
I commend the principal for separating the student’s civil liberties from the act of breaking the school rules. In this nation they have the right to speak and assemble as they see fit, but they don’t have the right to break rules in exercising their civil liberties. It is a wrong to walkout of school; it is not a right.
In Olympia there are regular demonstrations against the port being used to support the the war in Iraq. Do the participants have the right to assemble and speak out against the war? You betcha they do! They have a right in this nation to assemble, speak, chant, wave signs and yell until the cows come home and even beyond that. But they don’t have a right to break laws any more than the student in Ferndale had a right to break school rules. Civil disobedience is not a right, it is wrong.
Civil disobedience is wrong even if you are prepared to suffer the consequences, whether it’s criminal prosecution in Olympia or Saturday school in Ferndale. Wrong is wrong, it is not a right. Take heart though, if you are one of the walkout students. YAWR the organizer of the event, will send a peace version of Guito to
blackmail convince your school administrators that wrong is right, i.e. doing wrong is a civil right.
If you or any other students face discipline for walking out of school, please contact us immediately. We can mobilize hundreds of antiwar activists to protest your school authorities with emails and phone calls to protect your right to participate in this act of mass civil disobedience. Please forward this email to any students who may have faced any discipline.
Youth Against War and Racism
The irony of both these situation is that the news and public interest will follow the bad behavior rather than the message of their protest.