“Standing In the Rain”: The Walkout to Protest Gun Violence in Schools

I walked into Mary’s Guild yesterday and was asked if I wanted to go “stand in the rain” with some of the women.

My answer: “OF COURSE!”

Walkout

We wanted to go stand in support at the high school, but the kids were going to be in the gym, so we’d have to be on campus… which would not be allowed. (As a parent, I’m OK with this — the school has to limit access to only those who have an educational purpose for being there.) The moms of various high schoolers in Mary’s Guild also wanted to step back and let their kids do this on their own, so we decided to go support the local middle school.

From the back... (I'm the green umbrella.)

There were easily 100+ kids standing around the flagpole that we could see from the sidewalk off-campus. They were completely silent for those 17 minutes and you could tell, even from a distance, that this was something they were taking very seriously.

I heard about other walkouts during the day including the scene at the high school.

The high school.

Kids in the Mount Vernon School District who participated were given unexcused absences if they walked out. Parents overwhelmingly said “we don’t care — do it”.

Kids at the other middle school stood along the street with signs. The picture of this particular one shredded my heart.

Am I next?

Of course, there were also the naysayers, because no positive activity is safe from criticism. (My comments are in italics.)

  1. “They’re just doing this to get out of class!” That would be a nope! It was cold and rainy and I can’t think of anyone who would be out there unless they had a good reason. Next!
  2. “It’s just political theater!” Nope! That would be Hamilton which the juniors were off seeing in Seattle at the time. There was nothing theatrical about this. Next!
  3. “The grown-ups are puppeting these kids! That would be wrong. The Women’s March might have given them the tools, but the kids were completely in charge. Next!
  4. “Let’s see how many participate if it’s held after school! That would be the March for Our Lives on March 24th. Daniel and I will be participating and I am SOOOOOOO excited! Oh, by the way, a group of high schoolers are putting that together. I offered to help in any way they needed and they told me to publicize it… which I am doing right now. 🙂 Next!
  5. “They don’t know anything about what they are protesting!” Apparently, you haven’t heard the conversations I’ve heard from the Running Start kids on the subject or the speakers I’ve heard. Next!
  6. “Why couldn’t they do something positive instead?!? So kids choosing to stand up for their safety at school and remember a tragedy that killed 17 students their age isn’t positive? Civics in action, much?

I’m reminded of these words from the Bob Dylan song, “The Times They Are A Changin'”:

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get outta’ the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

Our kids are speaking. We need to listen.