Nothing like a little student protest to bring out the authoritarianism in people.
I have no stake in the whole school uniforms thing at Franklin Middle School, but I was kind of impressed at Ashley Pruitt’s protest against the new uniforms. I think she showed quite a bit of courage and everything seems to have turned out OK. Her voice was heard and she’s back in class.
What I was shocked about was some of the reaction her protest received. She broke the rules! This must never be tolerated! She must be severely punished! Dissent = anarchy! In my day we respected our elders or else! The rules are the rules!
Geez, I had no idea the oppressors at Tiananmen Square were living here in Springfield.
Look, this was a new rule that I imagine a lot of students and a number of parents were unhappy with. Ashley set about a non-violent protest while the issue was still fresh. It’s not like she decided the rules against talking in class, or cheating, or fighting were suddenly unreasonable and decided to defy those rules. No one got hurt and I’m sure anarchy isn’t any more prevalent at Franklin than it was before her protest.
Yes, children do need to obey and defer to teachers and parents. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a voice and occasionally challenge authority on issues that mean something to them.
From what little I actually know about all of this, Ashley has shown more maturity than many of her detractors. The knee-jerk reaction to crush her protest swiftly and mercilessly I don’t think teaches anything other than intolerance of dissent and a distrust of authority. Good on everyone directly involved for coming to a mutual and peaceful accord.
Update: Just to be clear, I have no problem with uniforms; I'm just astonished at the level of vitriol and hostility toward the very notion of a student peacefully protesting.