When students permitted to leave school for a protest march are too young to cross the street by themselves, something is seriously amiss. But that is precisely what happened in New London, Conn., this past week.
Kindergarten-age students at Harbor Elementary School were taken away from their toy building blocks and Little Golden Books for 17 minutes so that they could take part in the national walkout in response to the Parkland, Fla., shootings.
According to NBC Connecticut, the purpose of the New London walkout was to promote school safety, though the two teachers who organized the event (both unidentified) carried signs reading “Enough,” which is an anti-gun message.
More problematic still was the fact that the teachers flouted district protocol: They elected not to send permission slips home to parents in advance of the event or even to notify school administrators of the planned walkout.
New London Interim Superintendent Dr. Stephen Tracy is quoted as saying:
When you’re going to do something like that, in connection with something that, let’s face it, is controversial, you need to seek the approval of the principal and the parents before you involve 5-year-olds in something like that.
A video of the march was posted on Facebook, which generated some negative feedback.
“It’s kind of a safety issue, too, to have the kids file out of the class in an organized manner,” Sebastian Larrea, whose child is in pre-K and did not participate in the march, said.
Harbor Elementary’s crossing guard Joyce Powers said she saw the children escorted in two lines by teachers who were carrying signs that read “enough.”
“I thought it was pushing it with that age group,” Powers said. “I don’t think they understood what was actually happening.”
Tracy said he’s talked to the two teachers involved but would not say if any disciplinary measures were taken.
“Suffice it to say, lessons were learned and I consider the matter closed,” Tracy said.
But the matter is evidently not closed. A member of the board of education is now calling for the principal’s resignation.
(h/t Jazz Shaw)