The Cambridge News, March 3, 2011 / Letters to the Editor
I am an eighth-grader at Nikolay Middle School. These past two weeks my view of our administration and teachers has lessened significantly. I imagine you have figured out that I am talking about the local reaction to the protests that are occurring at our State Capitol regarding Governor Scott Walker’s heinous bill attacking unions and collective bargaining.
Our teacher’s union in Cambridge decided that it was best for all of us if they stayed here in our schools. I have talked to some of my teachers and they have told me that the reason they made this decision is because they respect and like the Cambridge administration and wanted to stay here and teach; they told me it was for our education. Well let me tell you, the administration is going to be affected by this bill just like the rest of us. The school administration should be up at the Capitol protesting right along next to our teachers.
On Friday, Feb. 19, I went to school, begrudgingly, as I would’ve much rather been at the Capitol along with the rest of the state. Shortly before lunch it was announced on the loudspeaker that some students at Nikolay Middle School were planning a walkout and that it would not be a good choice. With our own principal away at a conference, we were told, “the issue that has arisen is Madison’s problem, not Cambridge’s,” and “let the adults handle this adult problem.”
I was fuming by the end of this.
We were also told that a “discussion forum” would be held during the second half of our lunch period. I was prepared to express my views in a respectful way, of course, because I respect my peers and authority figures. But we received something much less inclusive than a discussion forum. We instead received a lecture in which we were talked down to and threatened with suspension and even expulsion.
Students are opinionated and engaged. We know what’s happening, so why not encourage us to examine current issues and experience education in the world beyond the classroom?