Two Students Walk Out Of Class

In a stack of papers called Unorganized.

  • Mar
  • 27
  • 2006

In an effort to protest the proposed crackdowns on illegal immigration, students at my school staged a walk out. Just about every single year, at one time or another, a walk out is staged, but it has never actually happened. This time, at 9:30, 2 students stood up and walked out of my class. There are a few interesting things to note from all this.

Dedication To Issues In Question

When I was in high school, the first Gulf War was just starting. Among my friends at the time were a few ardently pro-military guys. The day of a protest, those guys were out carrying signs and shouting slogans. Was it because they believed in the issues? Was it because they wanted to make a difference in US foreign policy? No. It was because it was during 6th period.

The APED here stated that, of all the students he talked to while rounding up the protesters today (only about 40-50 students), none knew why they had left class.

Civil disobedience is an honorable thing, even in high school. But just doing it to get out of class? Why not just cut?

Monkey See

The first student to walk out today only did so after seeing a few other students run past the classroom windows. The second students only stood up after the first student had made it halfway to the door. Had the first student not stood up and had I blocked all my windows, I firmly believe that no one would have left my room.

A Practical Use Of MySpace

Students used MySpace to organize this event. Fliers apparently cropped up this morning, though the rumor is that they are replete with spelling and grammatical errors. Surely, that does little to promote the cause.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to hear that MySpace was put to good use. Really, I’m glad to know that some students were conscientious enough to make use of that infrastructure. I wish I could get my hands on the site, but MySpace is blocked by the district firewall and I’m writing this at work, so I can’t track it down.


As the time for the walk out approached, I turned the conversation to our novel of current study. As students filed past my window and the 2 students who would go on to leave started to shuffle their feet, we discussed what message the walk out sends. Several students brought up the idea that immigrants come to this country to get a better education, so they can make something of themselves. To walk out of a class and leave that education behind is a bit counter productive.

Further, it raises negative hype around the issue. To stage something more peaceful generates good feelings about the issue. Again, the walk out may end up being counter productive. Another student later in the made a good point. “Shouldn’t the Asians be out there, too?” It was the Latino Student Union that organized the walk out. “Shouldn’t everyone be out there? I mean, we all came from immigrants somewhere.”

Connection To Literature

After my two students left the class, we moved the conversation to Siddhartha. I wanted to make sure that they saw that as an extension of the already existing conversation, not a change in topic. “All of those students walking out, when they make the choice to stand up and leave, are they being Siddhartha who’s going out to find his own solutions to things? Or are they being Govinda, just following Gotama?” Majority ruled that the walk out was Govinda, following Gotama, but it sparked an interesting conversation about the issue.

We also shifted to talking about Sidd’s attitude toward working in the merchant industry with Kamaswami. Sidd sees it all as a game and takes none of it seriously. I asked for the way students view high school. Is it all a game, too? Do events like today confirm or deny that assumption?

Even though two walked out, it was a pretty good day. We ended with barely enough time to discuss the homework in one class and with 15 minutes to start reading tonight’s assignment in another. I shorted 6th period in terms of a discussion about whether or not high school is “real life” and we ended the conversation early. Plus, 6th period doesn’t talk as much in these settings as 3rd, so our discussions almost always tend to run short in 6th. Still, leaving them with time to read was smart because far more of them report being behind in the reading than 3rd.

1 comment

1. Debbie says:

[3/28/2006 - 12:23 pm]

I love your ability to think on your feet and tie things into the what you’re already working on with students. Way to go!