I posted some commentary on facebook:
I felt fully able to support yesterday’s Walk-Out. If my daughter were a high school student, not only would I have encouraged her participation, but knowing her, I would have expected it.
That said, I also can support the idea of Walk-Up, but as a separate effort. Not as an attempt of adults to horn in on a planned protest. Certainly adults can lead the way on this, given their recent record of bullying behavior in politics, entertainment, sports, police work, and elsewhere. But if teens want to amend their behavior there and call adults out on bullying, I’m all for that too.
Some fb friends have characterized the walk-up overwrite as victim-shaming. It’s complex. That might be true. But it’s also true that bullying is rampant in American culture. Guns are part of the bullying mystique. The list is long: casting couches, cussing coaches, police brutality, brutish politicians.
Protests eventually end. The stirring in the heart is not unlike other liminal events–if one’s heart is truly in for the cause.
Walking up, to be sure, is not a bad way to go. But it falls into the realm of daily behavior. As evangelical Catholics would say, it’s a mission. Not an act of maintenance. Walking up to someone could be a daily act of kindness, a “new” way of stabilizing and building up a community–not just a school.
I perceive a lot of adults were behind #walkupnotout. Fair enough. Let them also take the lead, if they wish, by cleaning up their workplaces, locker rooms, neighborhoods, and even their families of origin. It’s basically a Christian thing to do:
… if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23b-24)
Find another day to make a start of it. But I’d be sure to note that just one day of walking up to another person is pandering. And way too easy.
More in keeping with the purpose of a school, would be to encourage thoughtful relfection on the protest. If I were a teacher concerned about the tragic loss of seventeen minutes of classroom time, I might ask students, upon their return to write a brief paper on why they protested, what they expect to change and how they themselves might need to change to produce a better, healthier society. Submit either on social media of their choice or to me for a grade.