The administration has authorized a planned protest against the war in Iraq that has created much controversy between students and staff.
The protest will take place the day after the United States declares war on Iraq. The administration is expecting hundreds of students to attend which has prompted them to become involved primarily for safety concerns. The decision was made after members of the administration met with three Students for Global Responsibility (SGR) members, SGR sponsor George Vlasits, security guard Edward Reddick, and business administrator Anne Alban.
SGR member Rachel Yood said that SGR requested the meeting to make sure that the administration was informed and aware about the events that were going to take place. Yood said that SGR was very pleased with the cooperation of the administration and that it was important that the students and administration "work together to make it as safe an event as it can be."
The meeting resulted in guidelines about the protest that included excusing the absences of protesters. Protesters will be escorted by the safety committee and security guards at 1:00. They will remain outside until the end of the school day.
Many staff and students disagree with the decision of the administration. Government teacher Lansing Freeman calls their actions "unjust and unwise." Freeman believes that the authorization of the protest is a "clear violation of the U.S supreme court case of Tinker vs. Des Moines" which allows students to protest as long as it does not disrupt the school day.
Other staff and students believe that the authorization of this protest will create problems for future protests. SGR member Maya Kosok believes the administration is opening "a gate for other students wanting to protest." Sophomore Adrienne Smith, a supporter of the war in Iraq, agrees with Kosok. "I think the administration is going down a dangerous path because once you allow one person to walk-out you have to let everyone walk-out," says Smith.
Smith and other pro-war students feel that the administration is supporting the protest by allowing the protest to continue without consequences. Sophomore Denis Sosnovtsev says, "It seems like they're supporting the anti-war movement because usually they're strict about things like that."
Vlasits says it is obvious that the administration is only "attempting to make it orderly." He believes that the debate among the teachers is trivial and "unnecessary," and that teachers are "missing the point." He also believes that those who feel that the administration is supporting the protest are uninformed.
Republican club sponsor Dennis Heidler believes that the administration is unintentionally supporting the protest although he "understands why the administration has to do it."
Vlasits believes that students participating in the protest are exercising their basic constitutional rights and the school is "simply saying students have that right."
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