This is a watershed moment in American history, rife with civic engagement and an opportunity to affect change many Americans thought could never happen. As educators, we have a duty to engage students in civic education that promotes an understanding of our democratic republic.
The events of Feb. 14, though tragic, have created an opportunity for social and political change. The brave and relentless student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have shown American students the path to success. In fact, 12th grade Civics class requires this type of learning and engagement. The NYS SS Framework (curriculum) has three standards (12. G2, 12.G3, and 12.G4) that address First Amendment protections, civic duties and responsibilities. Districts that would punish students for participating in protests are doing the exact opposite of what is called for, and critical to the survival of our system of government. Grass roots policy change is very rare, and most movements amount to little more than a few loud protests.
We have engaged our youth in political participation and debate like never before. I’m glad the Schenectady City School District Board of Education, high school Principal Diane Wilkinson and Superintendent Larry Spring support our students’ rights. Shame on districts who don’t.
The writer is chairman of the Schenectady High School Social Studies Department
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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion