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High School leaders to be commended

for their focus during Walkout

 

Mar. 22, 2018

 

The leadership at North Sanpete High School should be commended for their cool handling of student participation in the recent mass social movement, National Walkout Day, on Wednesday, March 14.

The school’s leadership must have been faced with a quandary when a number of students approached the high school’s administration to see if they would get in any trouble from participation in the event.

Nan Ault, the school’s principal, sent out an email to the parents of the school with a message to make them aware that, although it would not be a school-sponsored event, she would be allowing willing participants to gather on the track so they had a safe place to exersize their right to free speech in the walkout.

The event was to be optional, Ault wrote, but not sponsored by the school.

Instead of the school officially sponsoring a movement she said has some politically charged agendas attached to it—specifically the antigun agenda being demanded by National Walkout Day organizers, Women’s March Youth EMPOWER—she turned to the school’s student body officers and asked them to help support the students who wanted to participate.

In short, the climate was to be one of support and inclusion where the youth of the school would not be punished if they wanted to stand up for their beliefs, but school lessons would not be interrupted.

Social media response to the Messenger’s advance coverage of the event was a mix of outrage and enthusiasm. This was clearly a sensitive matter to some people in Sanpete, and people on both sides of the fence had something to say.

In some of our Facebook responses, parents said they would not allow their children to participate. Some people showed disappointment in the high school they themselves attended as youths. Still others were upset because they felt stricter gun control was clearly the endgame for this mass movement, and the youth of North Sanpete High should not be involved in it.

On the other hand were the supporters of the walkout.

Some people said they felt it was important that the students be given the opportunity to participate—even people who said they wished some other schools were allowing participation as well. A healthy portion of the social media responses boiled down to, “Where’s the harm?”

Some other predominantly conservative school districts such as Harford County, Md., threatened punishment for participation.

The superintendent of the Needville Independent School District near Houston warned students last month they faced a three-day suspension for “any type of protest or awareness” during school hours.

Approximately three-dozen students gathered on the track field at North Sanpete High School at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14.

The student body officers, who prepared a message of support for participants, made a conscious effort to steer the discussion away from local hot-button issues like gun control and instead encouraged support and inclusion.

Hawks were allowed to walk out.

The whole thing went off without a hitch, and the participants, while not many in number, were allowed to exercise their right to free speech.

Bravo.