Anti-War March by Public School Students

BetterLife writes: “I observed our local public school students participating in an Anti-War march downtown. These students were obvioulsy exercising their right to free speech, but chose to also shout profanities concerning the war. I respect their right to express themselves but have to wonder: 1. Who approved this march? 2. Did it require parental permission for a child to miss school for this function? 3. What happened to the children that chose not to participate in the function? I am considering scheduling a Pro-War march next monday. Will the students be able to march in this? If not, why? With all the school missed this year because of inclement weather, are our children getting the education they should be getting?”

03/25 Update: Braxton Williams reports in the Daily Progress that the 200 students will receive detention or suspension for their unexcused absence.

74 thoughts on “Anti-War March by Public School Students”

  1. How do you know that they were public school students?

    They marched right by my office, on the Downtown Mall, and I found myself a little irritated at their “1, 2, 3, 4, we don’t want your ***** war” chant. (Started, incidentally, by the adult leading the group.) I mean, they were marching right by the Virginia Discovery Museum. That’s just rude.

    Hey! PostNuke censored “f-cking” and replaced it with asterisks! Not cool. Time to muck around in the code and see if I can fix that…

  2. No shitt. And when you write "mothafucka" it changes it to the same amount of asterisks as it does when you write just plain "fucka." Dumb.

  3. Dare I say, they could protest on the weekend. I know…that’s wouldn’t have been half as fun, would it? And about that pesky F-word. It seems to me that watching middleschool children using that kind of language to get a point across is as bad as blocking traffic. It is a shock-value tactic that is more off-putting than anything. I don’t care if anyone wants to protest either way, but let’s not take kids out of school just to hear them cuss.

  4. I suspect that the students and their parents would probably say that opposing war and, in their opinions, struggling to prevent unnecessary deaths is far more important than a day of missed classes (no matter how many snow days there have been). I get the impression that most people of all groups in Charlottesville are strongly opposed to the war. Skipping school to go to a protest is consistent with our community’s mainstream values.

    Their chanting of "one, two, three, four, we don’t want your ***** war" did not rattle me nearly as much as it was probably supposed to. That was used in anti-Viet Nam protests before I was born. Those kids probably learned it from their parents.

    Good luck with the pro-war march. You don’t see many marchs for the status quo, so I’ll be interested to see how that goes. As for myself, I take the daily losses of American, British and Iraqi lives too seriously to play cheerleader even as I recognize the moral rightness of removing the Baath Party from power. I’ve never heard of anyone changing their mind about something on the basis of a slogan being chanted at them.

  5. If Charlottesville largely opposes the war as you say, this is certainly not in the "mainstream" if you look at the polls. This is what we can expect out of a college town like Charlottesville–that being antiwar. And you may notice that even though the national polls that indicate that more people support the war, the anti-war protesters are getting more of the media coverage b/c they get out in the streets and shout louder than the pro-war folks. I’m not taking a position here, merely putting Charlottesville’s stance in context.

  6. If I was in high school and I had the chance to skip class w/o punishment so that I could protest, I would be HELL YA. Then the following week, if they had a pro-troops and pro-Bush and again I was given the choice to skip class w/o punishment. Again my answer would be HELL YA.

    However, since I am in the professional and if I told my boss I am skipping work for peace. He would say "you are fired". I don’t believe my boss’ decision wasn’t a political.

  7. Where are the parents in this? If I had a kid skipping class to protest, he would be in the dog house regardless of which side he was on. They have something called "weekends" to do that. I think there is some adults with their own agenda behind this if you ask me.

  8. I thought he meant Charlottesville’s mainstream, not the nation’s. But I could be wrong.

  9. I meant mainstream for Charlottesville. Not necessarily the national mainstream. Charlottesville is a left-leaning town and it is probably safe to say that a majority of Charlottesvillians oppose war.

    Nationally, the anti-war protestors get coverage for their demonstrations, but I don’t think that its fair to say that they get more coverage. Mainstream media supports the war and generally makes their bias clear in their coverage.

    Anti-war groups get their message through by staging huge protests in public places, obnoxiously chanting, waving signs and getting 10 minutes or so of coverage on the evening news. Pro-war groups have their voice heard loud and clear every 5 minutes or so when another group of tanks is destroyed or another wave of bombs rains down on Baghdad. A JDAM hitting an arms depot is pretty darn loud. I don’t think that the anti-war folks are drowning anyone out.

  10. i refuse to listen to what teenagers have to say until they start wearing their pants at the proper height. "1,2,3,4…i don’t wanna see your ***** ass crack!"

  11. although the girls’ "ass cracks" are typically not that offensive, I’d say :-)

  12. I go to the high school and most of the administrators there seemed fine with the walkout. The kids will have to make up their work and such but i believe it will be an excused abscence. For the most part the whole thing was a joke since the war has already started and most of the people walking out did it simply to miss class. However I give those who actually were dedicated to their cause credit.

    Talk of the walkout started last week when it was supposed to be a national event. It gained steam and almost 500 people left their classes during the minute of silence and pledge of allegience.

  13. I knew it. That is what I would have done in a heartbeat. So Cavfan are you going to again walkout for the support of the troops?


  14. The parents are probably ok with it for the most part. Again, this is a left-leaning town. A lot of their parents and grandparents may have participated in anti-war protests during the 60’s and 70’s.

    If I had a kid skipping class to go to a protest, I’d probably be ok with it. A certain amount of civil disobedience is something that one can admire in a kid, if they have the right attitude about it. When I was that age, I participated in various political protests, petitions, etc., some of which I would roll my eyes at today. When I think of the other kids who took part in that kind of thing, they have all turned out to be exceptionally good citizens. Things like walkouts and protests can be political awakenings in a teenager that motivate him/her to participate in other community-minded activities later.

    So many people under the age of 35 are incredibly apathetic and disinclined to take a personal, moral stand on anything (‘like, whatever’) that I have a great deal of respect for young people who are willing to make a public statement of moral purpose- whether or not I agree with them.

  15. I was a student in the morch. All the adults can’t seem to see the fact we took a STANd for what we BELIEVE in. that is WAY more than I can say for the adults. I fully acknowledge that some of my ignorant classmates used the f-word in theor protest, and yes, some took advantage of the walk-out and went home. But there were those of us who are dedicated to our cause, and did not approve of our cussing. We will face the consequences for our stand, BUT WE MADE ONE> WE MARCHED. We are not a bunch of ignorant hooligans that ignorant adults, who pride themselves on own" maturity" try to make us out to be. We saw a cause and we stood for it. As a whole. As a school. WE constituted ourselves as a group marched out to make a statement. All of you onlookers sat and watched and crossed judgement. What about yourselves? WHat ahve YOU taken a stand for? I can not control a crowd, and apologize that you may have been offended, but dont overlook we made a strong stand, we marched 6 miles holding signs and chanting. This was student organized, run and operated. We made a our stand and WENT BAACK to SCHOOL. In ANY protest the crowd can get out of control. This is an example. People are hung up over a word or petty details, forgetting that HIGH SCHOOLERS made a stand for they believed in.

  16. But we couldn’t have done a walkout in ’91. They would have given us out of school suspendsion. Also Dazzled a question for you, can people who support Pres. Bush walk out next week without fear of suspendsion? It can only be far.

  17. nope. sorry. the cops ESCORTED us, I assure you if we broke any laws we would have known.

  18. YOu could have, you didn’t. We organizd it, we get zeroes amd some of us get detentio, who knows what else. Sure. ANyone can organize a walk out. they stand for what they believe in. I dont have to agree wiht them, and I will not be with them, but they can do it.

  19. The downtown mall did slap some citations on a few youth. He was not escorting you.

    Others were.

    Do not assume you know the truth that occured with the 200 kids at the "lets skip school" excuse.

    If you wish to be taken seriously by myself, and the dozens of customers I had, you would need to protest after school or on the weekends.

    Due to the amount of kids that were just hanging around and socializing on the edges ofthe group you lost significant credibility.

    Enjoy ISS…

  20. I wonder what the turnout would have been last thursday? 50 kids?

    Or on the weekend? 20 kids?

    Of course, I would have taken them much more seriously that I did today.

  21. They will recieve zeros for any work today, and ISS.

    Being aware vs. condoning the action is a vast distance.

  22. I think it’s crucial that we remember that nearly all of these protestors don’t have the right to vote, yet; and those that do probably couldn’t vote in last years congressional elections, and certainly couldn’t in the 2000 presidential elections. Public demonstration is one of few avenues they have to voice their opinions about U.S. policy (this is especially true considering congress ceded war powers to the president, who is unable to be anywhere near as responsive to calls and letters as congresspeople can be).

    Since it seems most of these kids understood the potential consequences of walking out, I think the interest they’ve shown in being vocal citizens is encouraging.

    Also, considering so many school children in Charlottesville are thinking about this war, I think the schools really ought to use this opportunity to present student debates on the U.S. policy toward Iraq, and informational assemblies on citizen participation in government.

    I mean, what a fantastic chance to bring their history and government classes to life.

  23. Just noticed on George Loper’s site that the organizers of the CHS walkout/march call themselves CHS Students for a Democratic Society.

    To anyone in the know, perhaps dazzled2bme, I’m curious to know about the name choice. Does the CHS SDS use the Port Huron Statement as its manifesto? Is CHS SDS intended to be a semi-socialist organization?

  24. Can we make some more mass generalizations while we’re at it?

    What about those negroes? They all wear their pants low, too! That’s why i never listen to what they have to say. I mean, if you or your peers can’t wear your pants around your waste, where God intended them to be, then how do you expect to be taken seriously?


  25. I don’t have kids, but if I did, and my kid was a serious enough kid to A. actually have and B. be able to logically articulate and defend his/her position on an important issue, I would be fine with letting the him/her out of school to protest. I would think that if the ‘this is not business as usual’ approach worked for adults (who presumably have jobs that they were taking personal days from), that taking an afternoon from school to protest would be comparable.

    If, however, this was just an excuse to be truant from school on a nice spring day and hang out with friends, that’s deplorable. I’d also hope that this isn’t an instance of parents using their children as puppets.

    IMHO, the ‘1, 2, 3, 4…f@*king war’ chant is not one that I’d want my kid using. It’s off-putting even from adults, and there are plenty of ways to get your point across without cussing in front of a children’s museum and local businesses. Oy, free speech. Whatcha gonna do?

  26. The administrators were standing outside watched us leave the building stood outside and WATCHED us go. it is an unexcused absence, nothing more to those dedicated, and returned. I dont know WHERE you got we are getting ISS. I tlaked to Mr. Bickers, Terry, and other school authorities and thEy confirmed.

  27. I am not going to ISS

    And those kids were the ones, like I said that should not have been there in the first place. NO one else citations.

    It is you, who overlooks the 200 that marched and you who chooses to focus on the fact that there were a few and we did cuss and we did it on a school day. YOUR ignorance. it could not be a group function otherwise.Those of us who took a stand stood for CHS. not posible on the weekends, it diminishes the title. I have a feeling It would not have made a difference. You would still find something wrong.

  28. With a few unfortunate exceptions, this was not to get outt of class this was to prove a point as a unit from CHS. a team of people.

  29. I particiapted stringly but did not organize, I can find out from the girl who runs it. Ill update you.

  30. I meant mainstream for Charlottesville. Not necessarily the national mainstream. Charlottesville is a left-leaning town and it is probably safe to say that a majority of Charlottesvillians oppose war.

    I’m not sure that it’s really that safe to say. I’d be highly interested in seeing a proper survey done on the subject.

    Of course, some of it depends on how you put it. If you came up and asked me “Do you support war?” I’d probably have to say “No.” However, if you asked me “Which do you prefer, leaving Iraq as it is, or going to war to change Iraq?” then I’d have to answer the latter. I don’t think anyone really likes war in and of itself. It’s just sometimes preferrable to the alternative.

  31. I agree with the overall thinking of your post. What concerns me are the potential endoctrination issues. What happens if the school debate moderator shows strong pro-war bias? What if the instructor leans against the war and flag-bearing parents find out?

    But I guess this is a case of not winning for losing and vice versa.

  32. I have a feeling It would not have made a difference. You would still find something wrong.

    You’re probably right. Anyone who found something wrong with it today would still find something wrong with it another day. They would be less skeptical of your motives if it was on your own time, but do you really care if he’s skeptical or not?

    I mean, you didn’t expect to change other C’villians’ minds, did you? Those that support Bush’s decision before your march will still support it today. Those that were anti-Bush before your march still will be today.

    If your purpose was to change people’s minds, then you wasted your time. If your purpose was to let others know how you feel, and send some sort of message to “the authorities” or “the government” or simply others citizens, then you were probably successful, on at least a local level.

    I applaud your desire to make some kind of difference, even if I don’t share your views.

  33. Good discussion. We’ve got kids who marched, concerned parents, pro-war folks, anti-war folks, members of the media under aliases… This is what is for. :)

  34. Your syntax, grammar, and spelling indicates you should have attended school.

    Yours is no better. You should have written: “Your syntax, grammar, and spelling indicate you should have attended school.”

  35. I find it a little odd to have such reverence for the sanctity of the school day, as in getting all het up at the idea that kids are missing even one precious second of Education.

    I am not anti-school. But I do think that a lot of what goes on in schools (particularly but not exclusively public schools) is not quite Education. A lot of it is Keeping Kids Occupied until their parents come home. A lot of it is Busywork Baloney. Then there’s all the Socializing. I think if you go back and boil down your own school experience to the things that actually qualify as Learning Something, that you end up with something that could have been fit into ten years (or even fewer) rather than eighteen.

    I mean, I just don’t think that public schooling, the way it functions now, is a terribly efficient delivery system for learning. There’s an awful lot of time-wasting dross among the nuggets of educational gold.

    This is all by way of saying that, as a parent, I wouldn’t see it as a Major Crisis if my child were to take the morning off to go protest something.

  36. Yours is no better.

    Um, shouldn’t this read, “Yours *are* no better”? Referring to the syntax, grammar and spelling?

    Such a productive discussion we’re having.

  37. That could have been correct had I referred to all those aspects of writing. However, I was addressing cornelious’ grammar, not his spelling or syntax.

    Such a productive discussion we’re having.

    That’s exactamundo my point.

  38. Good to see some can still see the forest from the trees. I’d go so far as to say the kids that took their political statement seriously actually learnt more that day than they usually do on a school day. Of course, this is not a valid pretense to skip classes every so often, but this “War” is certainly an event that qualifies for political activism, even from teens.

  39. Yes, they are minors. That is why they should sit by quietly and respectfully while adults decide public policy. They will have their chance to participate when they are old enough to have an informed opinion. They will also hopefully come to understand that it’s hard to learn anything while shouting and cursing.

  40. You stood for CHS? Did you take a vote of the students before deciding what to say on their behalf?

    And taking a stand? That wasn’t taking a stand, it was striking a pose. There is a difference, although from watching adult protesters I can understand why it’s confusing for you. Hopefully you will someday come to understand this distinction. Lord knows they aren’t teaching it in the public schools.

  41. “That wasn’t taking a stand, it was striking a pose. There is a difference, … Hopefully you will someday come to understand this distinction.”

    Geez, why are you harshing on the idealism of young people? I mean, you sound so sneering–“you kids don’t actually believe what you’re saying, you’re all just a bunch of poseurs.” How do you know that none of of these kids feel their convictions passionately? Wrong-headedly, perhaps, but genuinely nonetheless?

    I remember what it was like to be a teen. I had a lot of silly ideas about truth and justice. I got in a lot of heated arguments over my pet issues. I’m sure that 99% of the time I was underinformed and my reasoning was skewed and I was more caught up with the passion of the thing. But I was never adopting a pose. I really believed in what I was saying. I’m betting the CHS teens largely do too.

    Honestly, your response to the CHS teen just sounds petty and mean-spirited.

  42. I assure you that I will never approve of this as a use of my tax $$$. Your beleifs and the right to express them are crucial to the society we belong too.

    However, you need to do this on your time. Not the school $$ in which you have caused disruptions to the educational system and the adminstrators.

    Little pet projects need to be handled on your FREE time.

  43. <i>I remember what it was like to be a teen. I had a lot of silly ideas about truth and justice</i>

    Sounds like it’s you who has become cynical. Your own ideas may have changed substantially, but that doesn’t make us all ex-hippy wannabes.

  44. Yeah, but the day they turn 18, that’s when they can say something. And btw, Bush is trying to put a package through that would make them pay for the war, not the current ‘mature’ generation.

    Good thinking, sir.

  45. Thank you for another valuable and intelligent contribution to the discussions on this board.

  46. You don’t know what you’re talking about, they have not and will not receive ISS. I and countless other former CHS students skipped class many a time and never once got ISS. Maybe that’s what the punishment is supposed to be (I’m skeptical that’s the case), but it certainly isn’t in practice. Now that I think of it, I can’t even remember anyone ever getting ISS for skipping.

  47. Yes, they are minors. That is why they should sit by quietly and respectfully while adults decide public policy.

    Think about what you’re saying. There’s no reason for them to sit by quietly because voicing opinions publicly is a far cry from deciding policy. They’re not able to decide policy. That should be clear. Additionally, they are just as entitled to voice their opinions as you or I are, and saying that they shouldn’t is downright unamerican. They are especially entitled to when it’s their friends and relatives being sent off to risk their lives for causes they oppose.

  48. <i>"Which do you prefer, leaving Iraq as it is, or going to war to change Iraq?"</i>

    <p>That’s a really skewed question because it gives only two of many possible options. I, for one, wouldn’t answer such a poll because I don’t want either of those choices.</p>

  49. Half the point was to walk out of school. They were trying to express that business could not proceed as usual when things they disagree with so adamantly are going on. So leaving school was intended as a statement, though that seems to have gone over the heads of many people here. As for the swearing, well, yeah, it’s dumb. Kids will be kids.

  50. I’m just like that, I guess.

    I did say "striking" a pose, not affecting one. The point is that taking a stand means something more than going to the trendy protest that gets you out of class. There’s nothing wrong with the latter – hell, it’s not that different from spouting off here – until people start pretending it’s more than it is. I post rants here, but I don’t call it "taking a stand".

  51. The reasons they’re not allowed to decide policy are the same as the ones they shouldn’t try to interfere in it – they do not have the basis for forming an educated, reasoned opinion. have something worth saying before you shout it in the streets – that’s all I’m asking. If that’s unAmerican, then ignorance is patriotism.

    And no one’s saying they shouldn’t be ALLOWED to express an opinion. They have the legal right to express anything they want, but that doesn’t make what they say any better informed or more meaningful.

  52. Or on the weekend? Sure I may be abit cynical in my old age, but it was a mighty nice day, and the only thing you missed was school.

    It was not like you gave anything up or suffered and loss.

  53. "I don’t think anyone really likes war in and of itself."

    Actually, I like war in and of itself. There are several areas *cough*middle east*cough* that are seriously overpopulated. War and disease will save us all. Sorta makes me all misty eyed and nostalgic for the middle ages. *sigh*

  54. "this was not to get outt of class this was to prove a point as a unit from CHS"

    I don’t think you needed to march to prove that point. Everybody knows that kids are against war. Its their JOB.

    I’m sure anyone here would have put good money on kids being anti-war before the march. Nothing new about that, your parents did the same thing.

  55. I don’t think you needed to march to prove that point. Everybody knows that kids are against war. Its their JOB.

    I’m sure anyone here would have put good money on kids being anti-war before the march. Nothing new about that, your parents did the same thing.

    To Lars: I would have put good money on your mockery of the kids and their anti-war march. That’s YOUR job to make fun of everything.

    Also, you don’t even need to post anymore on either, bc everyone knows already what your thinking.

  56. they do not have the basis for forming an educated, reasoned opinion

    That is an assumption I would have been quick to disprove three years ago when I was in high school. Or even seven years ago when I was a freshman. I and almost all of my friends my age then were more knowledgeable than many of the jackasses I know who have been voting for decades. Sure, that’s not true of many other students, but then consider why only the minority of CHS students walked out. As I know several of those students, I can comfortably say that they have more educated, reasoned opinions than you’re giving them credit for. I think the students that have already spoken on this forum are demonstrating that nicely.

  57. So you are saying we should discount anything a minor says, no matter how thoughtful or well-researched, simply because they’re a minor?

    I think it should be pretty obvious when anyone, including a minor, is presenting an informed opinion. If a 14 year old freshman, or my 50 year old father for that matter, is clueless, I’ll ignore them, but when the same 14 year old takes time out of his school, friends, Playstation, etc. to think about an issue, even if I disagree I’ll listen to them and I’ll thank them for being so responsible. I think it is good to encourage such behavior in those who will be voting in just a few short years.

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