Skubick: School walk-outs to call for focus on gun violence or just “herd mentality”?


FILE – In this Feb. 14, 2018 file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. Emergency calls from parents and students during the Florida high school massacre show 911 operators at […]

The co-president of the State Board of Education is concerned that students who walk out of class tomorrow to protest gun violence are part of a herd mentality.  

But the state school superintendent believes the students are sincere and want to be heard.  

Brian Whitson says, “we’re all a little concerned and will be relieved when tomorrow is over.”

This proposed nationwide student walk out set for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday is an outgrowth of the 17 shooting deaths in a Florida school two weeks ago and Michigan educators are working with local law enforcement to make sure the students are safe.

Chris Wigent of the School Administrators Association says, “each district is working with their local law enforcement and with the school staff and try to make as much as possible the students safe. That is our major responsibility.”

The state school superintednent hopes the demonstrations stay inside the school and not in the streets.

Meanwhile on another front, the co-president of the State Board of Education is not so sure the students are being influenced by adults who are anti guns.

“When adults organize activities and take time off from the regular school day, I guess I question how does that fit into our curriculum?,” says Dr. Richard Zeile. “Are we really doing our young people a favor and modeling adult behavior?”

Dr. Zeile would be more comfortable if there was not a walk out and thinks some students may be susceptible to “a herd mentality.”

“There is a certain herd instinct among students and it’s in the public at large. I think students are particularly vulnerable to that.”

But based on what he has seen, the state school superintendent concludes the students are frustrated and want to be heard.

“This is a genuine outreach by students who are frustrated and want to be heard,” said Whitson. “The herd mentality, meaning the adults are driving this, who knows, may they are but that’s not the impression I get. It’s driven by student leaders.”

The governor had his own comment on the walk outs.

“I appreciate their interest in participating in a civil process of communicating their concerns over safety,” said Gov. Snyder.

The governor reports he will have recommendations on the school gun safety questions within three weeks or so.

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