February 14, 2017.
Last Friday, a few hundred Loudoun County high school students used the last period of the day – for some a study hall period – to register their opposition to President Donald Trump’s immigration order and perhaps other things. In an effort known to and managed by LCPS school officials, they walked out and, in a couple of cases, held a brief rally in their school’s respective athletic stadium.
They were told there would be disciplinary consequences to this action, and they accepted this.
Our reporter talked with students and administrators in advance, and covered the scene at Rock Ridge High School. There was no violence, property damage, graffiti, name-calling or other offensive behavior reported there or elsewhere to our knowledge. As protests go, it was an exemplary exercise of civil disobedience.
Cynics who said that some of the students simply wanted the chance to leave school early at the end of the day may be right. Others who said that some don’t fully understand what they are protesting may also be right. But the same could be said about the uniformity of understanding of protesters generally.
Those who said that LCPS should not have acquiesced and accommodated this action have a point too. We think schools should be forums for learning within established boundaries, and that such a student-initiated protest should not be facilitated in our public schools.
But these are not ordinary times, and President Trump has provoked strong reactions by his words and actions. Hence the outcry locally and by Americans across the nation following the hasty and legally flawed announcement of a travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
We don’t like governance by surprise, nor by executive order, and we hope the new president will vet future policies more exhaustively, and test their legal mettle too. Then communicate with the public more in advance than after the fact. To do anything less will undermine the Administration’s chance of success, and the presidency itself.
Back to those Loudoun high school students.
We have your back, and we strongly differ with those critics who have painted you as politically over-zealous, far-left, uninformed and irresponsible. That’s an over reach that is undeserved, unsupported by the evidence and extreme in its own right.