History, politics, people of Oly WA

Youth protest in Seattle (this is not called “The Kids are Alright,” although that would be accurate)

I’ve not really been a big fan of protest lately, walking in the streets to prove a point. But, the coverage of the high school walkout in Seattle yesterday made me think differently. Protest can be good, and for some reason, really good if you’re in high school.

High school students have no other choice than to be in school, so walking out of class is the supreme level of civil disobedience. Its a world of difference from middle aged protesters taking on the Iraq War on the weekend or college aged kids doing May Day.

For the rest of us, protest should be weighed more heavily against other types of engagement, like voting, participating in public life and running for office. Have I mentioned that if you protested either the Port of Olympia or Tacoma recently, you should run for port commission? Lots of openings!

I especially liked the response to unnamed critics in the PI’s article:

Students also fired back at cynics who suggest they’re just lazy kids looking for a day off from school. Those who skipped school Wednesday could have opted to go shopping downtown or simply could have gone home instead of attending the rally, Salas said.

The fact they showed up “is very demonstrative that these kids care,” she said. “Adults need to see we’re willing to get detention for the day and get yelled at by our parents to do this.”

This is the same world that hundreds of thousands of high school aged and younger keep American Idol afloat, and we’re worried about high school students actually paying attention and reacting to the world around them.

Its also nice to see a little bit of online organization (here and myspace), even if it did get only 300 protesters from a district with tens of thousands of students. I would like to know more about how online or non-traditional organizing tools were used, just because I’m curious.

1 Comment

  1. Jim Anderson

    Some of my students were carrying around little fliers on the day of the protest. No one I know walked out, though, not even some of my fiercest liberals. I was surprised.

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