Editorial: Don’t just walk out, speak out

There have been two school-wide walkouts this year, and while both have been in support of incredibly important issues, they have also been frustrating.
During the Reproductive Freedom Walkout on May 9, students in the crowd were laughing and joking with friends. For those who were personally invested in the cause, this felt like a complete undermining of everything the walkout was supposed to represent. Even organizers and students who gave speeches made jokes or laughed at times, and—though levity is sometimes needed with such heavy issues as abortion access and equal rights—the walkout was neither the time nor place for this.
Disinterest from the crowd was also present at the walkout earlier in the year, organized by the Muslim Student Association, but not to the same extent. In both situations, it was disappointing to see students treat the events as a way to skip class. In fact, it was more than disappointing: it was maddening.
The Reproductive Freedom Walkout was meant to show how much young people care about and are affected by the politics around them. What does it say to adults and reporters if we’re all smiling and having a good time? That abortion rights or fair treatment of Muslim students is a joke?
Perhaps the whole idea of a walkout, especially one that starts 15 minutes before the end of school, is inherently flawed because it rewards students who just want to leave early. Or perhaps we all need to stand up a little taller and actually fight for what we believe in instead of fooling around.
Do what you want on your own time, but don’t screw up a chance to make change for those who care.