Today marks the one month anniversary of the horrific school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and students worldwide are planning protests to mark the occasion.
The events are largely coordinated by an arm of the Women’s March organization, and students at over 2,800 schools are taking part in the protest, which includes walkouts across the country and in countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia.
Naturally, in Washington DC, Democratic lawmakers will march alongside students from the White House to the Capitol. And we shouldn’t be surprised that today’s protests will be the first of many.
Wednesday's walkouts will mark the first in a series of events in March and April organized by students across the nation as part of the #NeverAgain movement. Another walkout is scheduled on April 20 to mark the 19th year since the Columbine High School massacre.
A massive rally dubbed March For Our Lives is planned March 24 in Washington. The event is expected to attract 500,000 people and has spurred sister marches in every state.
On Wednesday, students at each school are expected to demonstrate in different ways: Some are planning to leave their schools and march, while others will hold a short memorial service, hold hands or use the time to register to vote.
At the same time – and at the worst possible moment – New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is demonstrating typical tone deafness and removing armed city police officers from all schools. Instead, officers will visit schools while on patrol, and unarmed “safety agents” will work at each school.
“My colleagues think it’s outrageous — and really stupid,” teacher Arthur Goldstein said. “We’re not enthusiastic about arming teachers, but we liked having a cop around.”
Some schools – like one where a student recently threatened a shooting – are taking action against the mayor.
The PTA is demanding that the NYPD and city Department of Education bring back an armed cop to Francis Lewis. It has collected more than 1,000 signatures in just two days, according to co-president Linda Lovett.
“It’s ridiculous,” Lovett said. “All over the country they are telling you ‘arm the teachers, get an officer in your school.’ New York City had a designated officer and they are actually cutting the program . . . they are making us less secure.
“You are talking about 5,000 people in a one-block radius, and you’re telling me you can’t designate one officer?”
I’m not sure which move is more boneheaded: removing armed officers from schools or engaging in protests that are not likely to change minds – and are more likely to incur school discipline issues for the kids.
When it comes to protecting our students, engaging in meaningless calls for gun control won’t do it, and neither will removing the law enforcement professionals who have sworn oaths to protect kids.
I fear these people won’t come to their senses for a long time.