Dear <President of the Jesuit Catholic high school to which my daughter attends>:
I’m writing to you about your decision to permit students to participate in the National School Walkout on Wednesday 14th March at 10:00 am.
I received your letter regarding the walkout and then researched the event’s stated goals and principal organizers. I regret to report that you have been materially misinformed about both.
<Name of Catholic High School> should not accommodate participation in this particular event and should instead allow the students to hold an independent event at a different time and date so as to distance themselves and the school as far as possible the National School Walkout. The values of its organizers are in sharp contrast with Catholic teaching, and their goals are not what your letter suggests that they are.
I have outlined my thinking on the matter below along with supporting material from a wide variety of national news sources and the website of the group organizing the event.
The event is not organized by the Stoneman Students.
In your letter, you mentioned that students would stand outside the school, “as per the directions from the students from Stoneman Douglas High School. The event is actually being organized by a highly partisan group that ran the Women’s March demonstrations in January 2017.) According to the group’s website, only one of the 17 youth organizers appears to be from the Parkland area, and it isn’t clear if he or she is a student at the school.
The organizing entity “Women’s March” favors abortion on demand paid for by taxpayers.
Included in the “Women’s March Manifesto” on the same website as the homepage for “The Walkout” is a call for “open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education. Loosely translated, this means “abortion on demand paid for with taxpayer money,” and it runs counter to Catholic doctrine.
The main organizer associates with and praises black supremacists and anti-semites.
Tamika Mallory, the Co-President of the organization, has frequently praised Louis Farrakhan, the black supremacist and anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam. “Farrakhan has returned the favor, complimenting her during his February Saviour’s Day speech” in which he also said that Jews control the media, Hollywood, the FBI, most of Europe, and Mexico and that the “white people running Mexico are Mexican-Jews.” In the past Mr. Farrakhan has also called Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler “a great man” and said, in reference to Jews, “When it’s God who puts you in the ovens, it’s forever!” Ms. Mallory refuses to distance herself from any of the above and recently posted smiling pictures of herself with Mr. Farrakhan with the caption “greatest of all time.”
The stated goal of the organized event is not only to show solidarity with the Parkland students or to mourn the 17 dead.
The organizing group enumerates the goals of the march on its website to include an array of gun control laws. It also outlines some disturbing – and completely ad-hominem – anti-police rhetoric. https://www.womensmarch.com/enough-demands/
The students who approached you about participating in the “School Walkout” were the victims of a particularly crass and craven form of manipulation by radical political actors who are playing upon the students’ good intentions and upon the emotionality, gullibility, and peer-approval seeking nature of teenagers. These same actors openly seek goals that are deeply counter to Catholic doctrine. They associate with and refuse to disavow intolerant racist and anti-semitic people. The specific method they have chosen – a walkout during the school day – is a devious tactic to ensure that even students who don’t feel strongly in favor of the stated goals of the demonstration will participate because they either welcome time off of the school day and/or will feel peer pressured into participating because they fear to look as if they support gun violence. I can say with certainty that at least one of your students – my daughter – feels this way and I am told that there are others who share this concern.
<Name of Catholic High School> should not be associated with this event nor the organization in any way. Participating in this specific event – if only via accommodation – will reflect very badly on the school.
The school should instead allow students to conduct their own event at a separate time and/or date to completely distance the school from the organization and goals of the event. Holding an independent event will certainly provide an opportunity for, “students’ actions to reflect a deeper set of values and convictions” as you correctly suggest in your letter.
I am available to speak with you on this matter at any time.
<Dick from Brooklyn’s real name>