Berkeley High School (BHS) students, in addition to their classes every day, have the opportunity to learn about important issues by participating in semi-frequent walkouts protesting current events. These walkouts, ranging from the topics of gun violence to climate change, allow students to make their voices heard and be at the forefront of political movements. However, the frequency of these protests has caused some to question the possibility that BHS students are holding too many of these demonstrations.
It is clear that without the right to vote, there are few ways that students can make their voices heard. Recently, BHS students participated in the Youth School Strike for Climate, a worldwide movement that inspired the conversation of climate change solutions at the most recent UN Summit. This is proof that these walkouts are not just an excuse to get out of class, but that they have the ability to make change.
On the other hand, in order to participate in these powerful movements, students have to miss classes, if not the entire school day. Students may be learning more important life skills and knowledge from these walkouts than they are from their classes, but it’s important that this radical form of education doesn’t take too much away from school. In fact, walkouts can turn into a trendy activity rather than an impactful political demonstration if they occur too often. If in response to every current political issue, of which there are many, students walked out of school, it would turn into a boy-who-cried-wolf situation.
A couple weeks ago, in response to the Christchurch mosque shooting, the BHS Muslim Students Association held a vigil that mourned the lives lost and protested white supremacy, while maintaining the safety of the students by keeping them on campus. This is one example of a way to address a current event besides walkouts, which lose meaning if they happen too often.
While walkouts can be incredibly powerful, they are not the only way for young people to make change. More importantly, their significance is diminished if they happen too frequently.