A Better Way to Respond to School Violence
A Better Way to Respond to School Violence
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   03.13.18
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Rochelle Township High School (RTHS) shows a far better way to respond to school violence than a disruptive demonstration organized by a Leftist political organization–a way that unifies the school community rather than divides and a way that doesn’t violate school board policies regarding student conduct.

Superintendent Jason Harper sent this message to parents:

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and families of recent school shootings; however, we believe a student walk out creates both a substantial disruption to the learning environment and creates a safety and security risk for students. RTHS will stay safe and focused on learning by remaining in school. We will not participate in the national walk out protests. Students and teachers who participate in such a walk out will receive appropriate consequences for the situation.

At the same time, the RTHS administration wants students to know their voices are heard and should feel empowered to help create meaningful change. The RTHS administration has provided students with the opportunity to plan an entire week of activities as part of the “Week of Us” initiative led by students…. RTHS has dedicated an entire week to honoring lives lost due to violence and to bettering our own school climate.

Contrast Superintendent Harper’s response to the problematic response of St. Charles East High School principal Charles A. Kyle and St. Charles North High School principal Audra Christenson (CUSD 303) who sent a letter to parents informing them that students may participate. The notice also informs parents of the hoops the administration is jumping through to accommodate this violation of school board policy:

In an effort to ensure that we are focusing our efforts on the safety of our students who are on campus, we have decided to close our campus to visitors on March 14. This includes students from other schools, parents, former staff members, and community members. At 10:00 a.m. on March 14, students who choose to walk out of school will be directed to designated areas on campus where school and district administrators will provide supervision. In addition, we have requested extra support from the St. Charles Police Department at our high schools…. Students who participate in the walkout and return to class at the conclusion of the time allotted will not be marked absent. Likewise, students who remain on campus and maintain appropriate conduct will not receive disciplinary consequences.

That’s a curious decision in light of the section on “Prohibited Student Conduct” in their school board policy manual which prohibits the following:

Engaging in any activity, on or off campus, that interferes with, disrupts, or adversely affects the school environment, school operations, or an educational function. (emphasis added)

The letter to parents also includes this patently false statement:

[O]ur District policies, rules, and student code of conduct will remain in place.

Naperville North High School is outdoing most schools. Students there are extending their walkout to 90 minutes with students speechifying on gun violence statistics, community action, and voter information.

Barrington, York, Deerfield, and Highland Park High Schools are allowing students to leave class for Wednesday’s political protest despite all four schools having policy with the exact prohibition of activity that interferes with or  disrupts the school environment or school operations.

Collinsville Middle and High Schools are allowing students to disrupt instructional time despite this board policy:

A student is subject to disciplinary action for engaging in prohibited student conduct… whenever the student’s conduct is reasonably related to school or school activities… [o]n, or within sight of, school grounds before, during, or after school hours or at any time… if the conduct interferes with, disrupts, or adversely affects the school environment, school operations, or an educational function.

You get the point. Many middle and high school administrators are allowing students to participate in a leftist political demonstration that clearly violates school board policies.

Some will argue that the National School Walkout is trivial and, therefore, not worth opposing. And that’s how the Left wins again. The Left understands that incrementalism works. They take one baby-step at a time and when they encounter opposition, they simply ridicule their opponents into submission. Then next week, or next month, or next year, they take more baby-steps. Gradually, incrementally, they effect the radical changes in our schools and in our culture that they have for decades sought.

So, call your children’s middle and high schools to ask if they will be allowing students to violate school conduct policies. If they are, keep your kids home. And if you live in the Rochelle Township High School community, thank Superintendent Harper.

Listen to this article read by Laurie:

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children...
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