Over and over again, we hear that the student walkouts from earlier this year were about free speech, that schools couldn’t block students from expressing their views on gun control. Of course, we all knew that was bull because of how formalized and directed these supposed “protests” became at the school level.
It was one thing to allow students to protest. It was another to essentially put the school administration’s stamp of approval on them.
However, the defense always came back to free speech, which is fine, as long as everyone’s speech is respected.
While some school districts also allowed dissenting views to voice their opinions, that wasn’t nearly as universal. Now, one school is in hot water because it didn’t.
An Illinois high school student has sued her school for discrimination, saying teachers and fellow students harassed her when she tried to bring pro-gun signs to a gun control walkout after the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Madison Oster, 16, and her father, Jeremy, say school officials in Hononegah Community High School District 207 forced her to protest well away from the main walkout in March — part of a national day of action by gun control advocates.
When Madison asked why she was shunted aside, she said, school Executive Associate Principal Chad Dougherty told her officials feared the pro-gun students would “disturb the peace” and “start a fight.”
“When Madison persisted, Dougherty eventually relented, ushering them across the parking lot, to the football field, and through the gate with a sarcastic bow,” the Oster family says in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Second Amendment supporters say they have been given second-class treatment as the political debate has heated up since the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 dead.
Students and adults who support gun control have earned extensive attention from the press and support from many school officials, who let them skip class for rallies.
In other words, Madison Oster was told she couldn’t take part because she didn’t have the right opinions, then mocked because she stood her ground.
However, this is the world in which we live. A world where the media has managed to convey the message that it’s OK to mock us, that it’s fine to pretend we’re the radicals for not wanting to give up ground on our sacred and protected rights. They mock us for believing in the Second Amendment.
The thing is, mockery is free speech as well, but shunting Madison aside so that her voice wouldn’t be heard is a violation of her free speech. Then, to make matters worse, this happened:
Madison said she and the handful of other students again were held aside after the event as other students filed back into the school and taunted them along the way.
“One student yelled at Madison to kill herself. Another student took pictures of Madison’s group, one of which reportedly became an online meme and method of ridicule among the other HCHS students,” the complaint said. “Finally and ironically, before allowing them to return to class, Dougherty warned the small pro-gun-rights group not to bully the students with different views.”
Madison left the school early “feeling bullied and ostracized” and stayed home for a week because of the bullying. Her father filed a grievance with the school, but nothing came of it.
In other words, just like usual, we’re expected to act with a sense of decorum and restraint while the other side can do whatever the hell they want. They can tell a teenage girl to kill herself, and the supportive administration will not just look the other way, but order the victims to play nice.
Well, I’m sick of playing nice.