Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 18

"
Paul Nordmann

FOR ME, IT WAS
WORTH IT.
I KNOW NOW
THAT WE HAVE
THE OPTION
TO NOT BE
APATHETIC. WE
HAVE WAYS OF
ADVOCATING FOR
OUR OWN ISSUES.

ISHMAIAH MOORE, 17

"From an education standpoint, if we create a less rigid environment when it
comes to protests and voicing opinion, we allow kids to test things out, make
mistakes, and learn from their mistakes," says Gross. "There's an educational
value, a formative opportunity, to allowing teenagers to advocate."
Students who participated in gun violence protests say the experience was
educational. Tanaquil Eltsov, 14, has participated in three student walkouts
at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. For the most part,
says Eltsov, administrators and teachers didn't get in their way.

'IT WAS WORTH IT'
Not all student protests in the past few years have been about gun control.
On May 15, 2017, for example, a group of more than 100 Hazelwood West High
School students in Hazelwood, Missouri, walked out of school in support of
their teachers whose contract negotiations had reached a stalemate.

There was one teacher, she says, who threatened to mark students as absent
if they participated in the first walkout, leaving an opening for them to get
suspended or otherwise be subject to school discipline. That threat was
enough to keep some students from leaving the classroom, Eltsov says.

Students said that school administrators didn't try to stop them from protesting. However, when administrators told the students to come back inside,
they refused. The following day, the protesting students were suspended
and some were blocked from walking at graduation. Student athletes were
also temporarily barred from participating in sports. Suspended students
became concerned that their community college scholarships could be
affected.

Eltsov is grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the walkouts and,
even more specifically, to have made a speech to fellow students. "When I was
able to speak to the group, it was like an adrenalin rush to feel like people were
taking what you thought into consideration," she says.

"That was really rough," says Ishmaiah Moore, a 17-year-old junior who
participated in the protests and initially received a five-day suspension.
"People were worried, and the whole thing blew up into a frenzy of panic
and disappointment."

Wermiel says we have yet to see whether the gun violence protests will
have any lasting impact. "The first question is: What happens to this student
movement over the summer? Are they able to harness their beliefs in protest
and keep it going?" Wermiel says.

The suspended students continued to protest for their teachers and also against
their punishment, which they argued was more severe than the disciplinary
actions spelled out in the school rules.

"The second question is: If they keep it going, what fuels it? Is it fueled by
progress or lack of progress? The third question is: What do students take
away from this experience - an appreciation for the value of debate? Or is
the message, we want you to do it our way and hear our views, but we're not
interested in what other people think. All three of these questions remain
open questions right now."
18

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018

*

"Kids started a longer-term protest after that. It grew into something bigger,"
says Gross, who was on hand for some of the protests.
Gross points out that when punishment for a student's protest is more severe
than outlined in a student handbook or in the school rules, then the question
becomes, "Are you now increasing the punishment because of the content of
the speech?"


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Career & Professional Development
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: After Parkland: Student Protests & Free Speech
Feature: Post-Brown
Feature: Remembering RFK
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Campus Connection
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 1
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 2
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 3
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 4
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 5
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 9
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 11
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 13
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 15
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Feature: After Parkland: Student Protests & Free Speech
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 17
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 18
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 19
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 20
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 21
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Feature: Post-Brown
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 23
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 24
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 25
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 26
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 27
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Feature: Remembering RFK
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 29
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 30
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 31
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 32
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 33
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 35
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 37
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 39
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 43
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 44
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 45
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 47
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 48
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 49
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Campus Connection
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - 51
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - August/September 2018 - Last Word
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