Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently stated that “an aggressive approach like a school boycott is needed if gun laws are ever going to change.” Duncan’s plan is for students to not go to school a few days after Labor Day weekend as a way of protesting. Some people were stunned by his radical suggestion, while some hopped right on the movement.
He has a point, boycotting is one of the most effective ways to change policies and laws. Boycotting is also often a last resort tactic, but looking at the bigger picture, gun control advocates have tried almost everything to create change and it hasn’t worked. Duncan remarked “It’s wildly impractical and difficult, but I think it’s wildly impractical and difficult that kids are shot when they are sent to school.” He recognizes that this is a difficult solution to a difficult problem.
This may remind you of the national school walkout, where thousands of teenagers left class for 17 minutes. Duncan says that “Parents need to step up to send a message to Congress.” This movement sends a message that it is not just teenagers affected by school shootings, but also their families.
Is this protest a parent’s choice or a student’s choice? What if kids have opposing viewpoints with their parents?
My town is very politically divided, meaning a school strike on gun control could cause troubles in my area. There are many anti-gun-control parents who will require their kids to go to school no matter what. But, there are also many pro-gun-control parents who would keep their kids at home. Will the school curriculum continue for students who have to stay?
This brings up a even more questions: will students who stay home be punished? At my school, if you are late for a certain amount of days, you serve detention. I couldn’t imagine the punishment for missing several days. Also, will after school activities like sports and drama be affected?
Overall, a school boycott is a very effective way for gun control advocates to prove a point, but there are also many downsides and obstacles. If the movement takes off this fall, I suspect it will successfully grab the government’s attention, but there will be consequences alongside it.