Letter: GHS students need a neutral environment to explore, research all angles of a subject, let their imaginations travel far, be creative.

Letter to the editor from Berrin Snyder responding to a March 16, 2018 statement from Indivisible Greenwich about the Greenwich Public School’s response to Wednesday’s Nationwide Walk-Out

I do not understand the position of Indivisible Greenwich regarding the GHS walkout. Such inflammatory comments are irresponsible and puzzling – they seem to advocate student unrest.

They are prolonging a focus on the possible dangers of being in school instead of dealing with the cause. Whoever is encouraging the students to be activists seems to be oversimplifying the issue in order to gain a platform for their ideas about free speech.

Are student shootings a result just of gun ownership? I think not. While there should be stricter controls and checks on people buying guns and automatic weapons, this is only part of the answer. It’s much more complicated than that. Unless you would have these students spend months or years researching gun laws, criminal behavior and psychology, solutions to mental illness, solutions to our 21st century social problems, family dynamics and counseling, creating school communities that can successfully identify and help troubled kids, I would encourage Indivisible to take their political fights elsewhere. Leave the children (that is what they are) alone! Let them focus on their studies while YOU, Indivisible – the ADULTS, focus on keeping your children safe.

High School is NO place for politics. Students need a neutral environment to explore, research all angles of a subject, let their imaginations travel far, be creative. I deplore politicizing tragic events, using our high school as the venue, and I wonder what the benefit is and to whom? In my day, we focused on studying politics, history, current events, and the issues; not demonstrating. We would not presume to have had enough time to know all the facts, nor did we have experience since we were too busy going to school. We were taught to look at all perspectives and sides of an issue to form a credible conclusion on any subject. I find this is sorely lacking in schools today. What is politically correct is what is taught. And I wonder if what is politically expedient for some is what is unfairly pushed on school administrators. Let’s leave the kids alone to learn, ponder, research, and come up with solutions and ideas that might actually change the future.

And why would Indivisible Greenwich advocate bringing the fight regarding gun control to our students in the first place? Their mandate is to learn and grow, not agitate! How long have these kids even lived on this planet? Have they researched the issues, or are they busy doing assigned homework

and sports, as they should be? Do they pay taxes? I am not diminishing kids’ ability to teach adults a thing or two, but let us leave them alone to enjoy their fleeting childhood and teen years. We, the adults, need to solve these problems and the Greenwich schools were quite right to control the situation. There was no suppression of vital information, just maintaining a calm and safe environment which I would want for my kids in high school.

I cannot really believe that Indivisible is asking why schools did not assist students in walking out – could it be that the students have a curriculum and schedule to follow? If Indivisible wants a demonstration then they should organize their own demonstration on their own time, and take responsibility for the safety of the crowd.

The Indivisible article is more concerned with students’ “rights” and banning the press than they are with the 17 deaths in Parkland. I’m glad middle schools asked students to explain in writing why they wanted to protest – a much better use of school time. Indivisible was also so concerned that students were “shielded” from the press – and why shouldn’t they be? Had parents been consulted about media interviewing their children? By the way, we might ask ourselves, if the press stopped covering these horrible massacres they way they do, perhaps there would be one less motivation to commit these terrible crimes. The media would do well to cease dwelling so much on sex and violence in both news and entertainment.

And what about questions like, “Why were students discouraged and/or told not to walk-out?”, “Were they threatened with suspension if they walked out, as some students reported?”, “Were they [the police] there to deter the students themselves from walking out?” It sounds like someone is looking for a lawsuit. Why?

The schools’ actions were not censorship, but rather common sense stewardship of the most precious things in our lives – our children! I would like to know who wrote this article and what do other parents think about it!

Berrin Snyder

See also:  Indivisible Greenwich Statement on Greenwich Schools Response To Nationwide Walkout