Re “Protesting Stanislaus students could face consequences” (Front Page, March 12): Becky Fortuna’s response for the Modesto City Schools to the anticipated, historic student walkouts regarding gun violence was patronizing and dismissive. I found the entire memo from Associate Superintendent Marla Mack needlessly adversarial in tone to students and faculty. The slaughter of 17 students and school staff with a semi-automatic assault rifle is not just another issue that “our students will feel passionate about … and want to express themselves in this manner. Remaining consistent in our response…”
It appears consistency and fear of disruption are more important than the very real fears and concerns students have; more important than providing them with “teachable moments.” Murder is not just another pro and con issue. Students must know the teachers and staff mentoring them are as genuinely compassionate and as concerned as they are.
Since students are going to walk out regardless of what the schools wish, schools should proactively teach and train students in the history and principles of safe, nonviolent demonstration. Discuss their plans, hopes and fears. These discussions can occur without breaching the required neutrality of instructors or the school. Cold, administrative admonitions threatening punishment are not helpful.
James Costello, Ceres