Yesterday Baby Bear was nervous. I told him that he did not HAVE to participate in the walk-out. his response? “Mom, this is IMPORTANT. I can’t vote, yet, but this is something that I can do!”. So, even if he was the ONLY one, he was still gonna get up, walk out of class, and go sit in the cafeteria.
I sighed. Sometimes he makes it so easy for the bullies to target him... But, HIS CHOICE. PapaBear printed out an awesome article all about peaceful protests, and we went over some ideas of what to say to teachers or kids who ask the “what/why” questions.
Then I sent him off to school, and had low-grade panic all day...
When I showed up to pick him up, he was grinning. He was so happy and proud. He could barely even get into the car before he started telling me all about it! (Which, for a 12-year-old dude in 7th grade is not that usual).
The school district had a “special activities schedule” today. That means that kids could do different activities during different times. One of those activities was listed as something vague like “unscheduled time in cafeteria” and that reffered to the walk out. They had teachers keeping the kiddos safe. They had them walk out to the corner, where BabyBear started them chanting things like “your guns are not more important than our lives” (so... apparently we need to work on his slogan-crafting skill, but this was something that we did not plan for!). He estimated about 200 middle school kids came out.
That lead to a discussion in the car about his “protesting privilege”, and how previous generations of protesters did not have the support of the school district. It was a great conversation about why kids have protested in the past.
I was so freaking proud of him.
He is a thoughtful kiddo. Obviously PapaBear and I have influenced him (because that’s parenting), but we really did try to let him figure out the protest thing on his own. He has a sense of his own individual power in society that I *still* struggle with. He’s an awesome kiddo.
So, Kudos to the school district for not only not punishing kids for participating, but for making it a seamless part of the day. Although it does kind of change the nature of the protest to have “the man” sanction it, for a middle school, it does make a lot of sense.