Op-Ed: Students Protesting Gun Violence Deserve a Voice

On March 5 we got a letter from the school board. Usually, this means there will be a fun event or other good news—new funding, longer breaks, fewer periods in the school day.

But no. Instead they tell us they are canceling the walkout that was planned for this Wednesday. This walkout was organized nationally to take a stand against gun violence, to tell our messed-up country that we are done. Enough is enough.

Enough happened way before this, way before the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. But this time we are really done with this. Done with being ignored. Done with being discarded. Done with the violence. Done with the fear.

This is not something that can be ignored or forgotten, and now here we are, learning that our district’s walkout had been canceled while “March for Our Lives” demonstrations are set to take place at other South Bay schools this week and throughout the nation on March 24. (For a full list of Bay Area schools participating, check here)

I’m sure you can imagine my thoughts and emotions when I heard the news. I was furious. What could possibly be going through the minds of the people who told them not participate in the national walkout?

Their excuse? It is too political and could be too traumatic for the young children. We lost 17 students and teachers, and that is just “too political” for the school board to handle?

This is complete B.S. So pardon me, I am just a tad bit furious. They stated in their newsletter that they did not want to put anyone at risk or make anyone unhappy. They will continue to do lockdown drills but they don’t want anyone to get anxiety from a walk-out? Why should we be silenced from protesting? Pretty much the rest of the country is taking part in walkouts but it’s just far too political for our little school board to handle.

If a big group of 13-year-olds can handle it, why can’t full-grown adults handle it? It seems to me the roles have switched, the kids are more courageous than the adults. And as far as the young children go, they have been doing lockdown drills for this situation since kindergarten.

But now that something has actually happened, “Oh, we don’t want to put them through that, it is just too traumatic for their young minds.”

No, screw that. I’m obviously enraged right now.You have already ruined them with your excessive lockdown drills and talks about the dangers of social media by the time they are in third grade! So don’t you dare tell us that it is too traumatic to protest injustice and violence. Because across the U.S., at Sandy Hook Elementary, 28 school kids and their teachers were killed in 2012. That is far more traumatic than a walkout, if you ask me.

If you are worried about the young kids in our district getting scared or too uncomfortable, which I can tell you, as somebody who has already testified about gun violence prevention twice in front of the city council, your concerns are unwarranted.

But here is a simple solution: contact the parents and have them sign a form allowing their child to participate in the event if you feel they are too young to make the decision for themselves.

Also, maybe ask a professional if you are worried that it may provoke anxiety. A licensed professional (aka my mom) I consulted said: “No, if done correctly it could actually alleviate stress. There could be therapists on campus to talk to students about their worries or fears. Sh*t got real, it has been real for a long time.”

And from my dad, who chimed in: “It seems to me Instead of making the kids anxious, this could empower them. They have already experienced a real lockdown. But if they stood up for themselves it could make them feel stronger. It seems to me this should alleviate anxiety to know they can call out their politicians and demand action.”

They both said the same thing, that this could alleviate fear and anxiety.

So here it is, my message to you, dear school board:

I recently read a newsletter you sent out to the parents of all of the students in the district. In it, you announced that you would be canceling the walkout you had planned. I am here to merely share my strong opinion on the matter. You seem to believe that the situation is too political.

Answer this question for me: how is losing the lives of 17 students and teachers even remotely political? Is death Democratic, Republican, independent etc.? I have failed to understand how it is. And in case you were wondering or did not know,  political [puh-lit-i-kuh l]: exercising or seeking power in the governmental or public affairs of a state, municipality, etc. So I ask you, please explain how this is even remotely political. Because, I do not see it, I don’t think students lives are political.

But I do know one thing for a fact: children are dead. And dying.

You also said that “participation in walkout style events may increase the sense of fear and anxiety among our younger students…” I decided to look into this. I talked to a licensed professional. They said, “Civil disobedience is about self-advocating in a structured way to communicate that things as they are, are harmful to our communities, particularly to our schools.”

Giving us an opportunity to speak out is very important, it has a higher chance of making kids feel better and more empowered. Let us have a voice. We deserve it. I would also like to mention that we have been doing lockdown drills for as long as I can remember, we have even had a few lockdowns, including one this year. That is much more stressful than walking out of school for a few hours to fight for something we believe in. Enough is enough. Let us fight. Let us win


Maya Schaffer is a 13-year-old student in the Cambrian School District who writes about climate change, gun violence, sexism and cats and hopes to someday become a photojournalist. At age 9, she became the youngest blogger ever on the Daily Kos. Opinions are the author’s own.


  1. My daughter is about your age. She would disagree. She loves bearing on youtube.

    She goes to a school not far from yours that is doing a walkout. The other day she came to me, saying she didn’t like this type of indoctrination. She doesn’t really have an opinion on guns. She knows I got rid of all of mine when she was born (I have a Vietnam Vet across the street that would put some holes in anyone breaking into our house)

    Your voice is but one in a sea of voices. It was nice of the Metro to give you a soapbox, but it’s a shame that nobody is talking to the kids that don’t want to participate in this virtue signalling.

    • > The other day she came to me, saying she didn’t like this type of indoctrination.

      Smart kid.

      > It was nice of the Metro to give you a soapbox, but it’s a shame that nobody is talking to the kids that don’t want to participate in this virtue signalling.

      Someone IS talking to the kids other than the progressive SJW’s, but I’m just not sure who that someone is.

      Ben Shapiro spoke at Berkeley several months ago, and despite the best efforts of the Soros/Alinsky mobs and the Berkeley faculty and mammoth social pressure, he had an audience.

      I know a lot of things. I know almost as much as Herb Waxman. I just can’t explain this.

    • Robert, you must be the good looking brother.

      I’ve heard of schools that are neutral and others that are threatening disciplinary actions against those joining the student organized events, but nothing about any schools forcing students to participate. If what you say is true (which is highly unlikely) you could suggest your daughter follows the lead of Maya and speak out.

      • I tell her she’s welcome to form her own opinions, but warn her about opinions that might get her ostracized are better kept to herself.

        That being said, there’s a lot of schools somewhat forcing kids to have anti-gun rallies. Probably the best example of a huge waste of school funds comes from Baltimore.


        The Mayor of Baltimore is using students as paid protesters. Just a quick blurb of the costs.

        Pugh said Tuesday that it would cost $100,000 to provide 60 buses, lunch and t-shirts for about 3,000 students. At a news conference on Wednesday the mayor said she wanted “to get as much private dollars as we can” and asked if public money would be used said: “We’ll cross that bridge if we get to it.”

        “As much private dollars as we can” makes me nervous. She’s basically saying whatever isn’t coming from private dollars will come from public dollars. Also, I know school budgeting is based on attendance, will this be counted as “Educational Field trip” so they can count all the kids as in attendance for the day?

        Now this is the most extreme example. Most schools are just having an assembly in the quad, arming the kids with signs for reporters to take pictures of. Still though, it makes ME uncomfortable that schools are doing this. 8 to 3 should be the sole domain of education, and not of political activism, and certainly not a virtue signalling political stunt.

        If Maya wants to organize a protest after school, that’s fine. It’s public property. Just not during school hours, and only on a voluntary basis.

        • So what you are saying is, “Yes, I made that up.”

          And this is really about “ME” being uncomfortable. I guess if people are looking for an honest discussion they should converse with your daughter. Too bad you discourage her from speaking up for herself.

          • >So what you are saying is, “Yes, I made that up.”

            I’m not making anything up, and seeing how salty you are, it is best I disengage with you post haste, less I deride to your level and accusing you of dishonesty. Feel free to sputter whatever nonsense you want after this, I will no longer be engaging you.

    • She doesn’t like indoctrination!? that’s hilarious because it’s apparent YOU already indoctrinated her , beside that, She probably lied, and told you what you want to hear. She’s playing you Bonehead,,!!!

      • I think as her parent, he has that right. As much as you want to discourage it, some parents still believe it is a responsibility to raise their own children instead of people like you.

  2. > Maya Schaffer is a 13-year-old student in the Cambrian School District who writes about climate change, . . . .


    Which is your favorite climate change computer model? There are hundreds of them.

    Personally, I like the ones that predict falling sea levels and a new ice age. It helps me ignore all the global warming blather without any guilt. And, I can enjoy driving my SUV and running my air conditioner.

      • > does that make you feel powerful?

        What makes me feel powerful is seeing progressives’ heads explode, and thinking to myself, “I did that!”

  3. Very thoughtful essay. Hats off to young people who are eager to participate in our democracy by doing the research and taking a stand. Kudos to their parents for not squishing them by admonishing them that someone might not agree. Engaged citizenship in the next generation is a welcome antidote to the many adults who assumed that democracy can run on auto-pilot.

    • > Hats off to young people who are eager to participate in our democracy by doing the research and taking a stand.

      “Democracy” is government by the stupidest and most easily manipulated fifty-one percent of the population.

      It’s no wonder why “progressives” love “children’s crusades”.

      Manipulating children for political optics is child exploitation and child abuse.

      Hijacking other people’s children and raising them to be red diaper babies is obscene and criminal.

      United Nations Convention on Genocide:


      “Definition of genocide
      Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as

      (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

      • Tell that to all the Northern California Native American Population that had genocide committed against them by thousands of illegal European-American squatter hordes that invaded their lands. Stole their children and put them into slavery because they murdered their parents, and in the 1900s forcibly stole their children and forced into Indian Boarding Schools for years to erase their language’s, cultures, and Identities. You wouldn’t know genocide if it hit you upside your fat head, and you cheapen the word “genocide”.

        • > Tell that to all the Northern California Native American Population that had genocide committed against them by thousands of illegal European-American squatter hordes that invaded their lands.

          So, which tribe are you, Mr. Smarty Pants?

          If your tribe is alive today, it committed genocide against some other tribe somewhere in history.

          It’s how foragers made a living: make war against the tribe with the best “tribal lands”, enslave the men, steal the women, kill and eat the children.

          European civilization was an improvement.

          You can no longer get Native American children’s parts in the frozen food section at Safeway.

          If you want to go back to tribal warfare, neolithic people have bigger brains, more food, and more guns than paleolithic tribal foragers. Do the math.

  4. I feel very badly about this latest massacre. I feel very badly the city police didn’t intervene in time to save a single sole before the shooting stopped, but had plenty of time to stand by and watch. I feel terrible that the county sheriff in spite of being warned time after time, and after interviewing this guy in of the most liberal anti gun countries in the state of Florida could find nothing to hold or a reason to disarm this nut. I feel absolutely sick that the FBI was too busy trying to find ghosts of Russian callution rather than tampering with evidence so this guy might be locked up in some government funny farm for safe keeping could do nothing. I am absolutely disgusted about the glee of the anti gun crowd poo-poo’s armed guards or teachers, to keep these kids safe in their Gun-Free-Safe-Zone as if bad guys from MS13 might be scared of such places.

    But no let’s blame the millions of people that have prepared and would have put their very lives on the line to save these kids, yet are mocked by the smug smart asses that organize marches and riots against guns and free speech. Your a bunch disgusting troglodytes that gleefully feed on the misery you create for the world for your own selfish purposes.

    Have a nice day at your protest!

  5. Bravo, Maya, for speaking out clearly and effectively about things that need to be said, and repeated and repeated again. We need to demonstrate what we can legitimately do to empower ourselves in such a situation. You were right to consider whether protest would further traumatize others, so were your parents,
    so too was the School Board. Regrettably, the School Board came to the wrong conclusion by impugning one of the few ways we as citizens and innocent victims have to make ourselves feel better and to remind others that enough really is enough.

    • Here’s the problem Arthur, It’s not about things that need to be said to FEEL good. When bad things happen it’s too late to legitimately empower yourself. The power has to be in place before bad things happen. Bad people, beat, stab, shoot, bomb, poison, drive cars and fly airplanes into places that can’t or won’t defend themselves.
      To borrow an Obama phrase this is the new reality.
      Take down the old stupid sign that says this is a drug free gun free zone. Put up a sign that says Armed personnel are on duty.
      There I feel better already!

  6. Good for you Maya! It is great to see you taking a stand! I am also impressed with the way that you display thoughtful consideration to the needs of others. I have had the great fortune of being able to work with strong students like you across the country expressing their legitimate voice often with much better clarity and meaning than the adults!

    Most School Board members and District leaders are milquetoast. That is how they maintain their positions by not rocking the boat and maintaining the status quo and their 6 figure salaries.

    Power does not give up power without a fight and you are now in a fight! Plan and carry out your legitimate marches but be ready to accept the consequences of detentions and suspensions from school and district “leaders”. Do not expect paternalistric and patronizing support. It will not happen. You are on the right side of this fight! So we puede! Keep up the great work! You are becoming a great citizen and leader! I for one am very proud of you!

  7. < Good for you Maya!
    < You are on the right side of this fight!

    No, Bill, She isn't. She's on the anti-Bill of Rights side, which is the wrong side.

    Remember, the Florida shooting was NOT caused by a lack of gun laws. It was caused because people DIDN"T respect existing gun laws. Shooting someone with a gun is against the law.

    AND, adults in the Obama Administration cynically enabled the shooter with their clearly stupid, obstructionist and dangerous notions about "restorative justice".

    The progressive herd clearly DOES NOT want to talk about all the missed opportunities to prevent the shooting because they didn't want a psychotic, anti-social "youth" to have bad things on his record and be denied the opportunity to go to college.

    You should be concerned that, for all your years of education, you are still at the level of naivety of a thirteen year old school girl.

  8. As the Republican, Steve Schmidt, says, it is easy to be pro-gun when you are at the butt end of an AR-15 but unfortunately our children have been at the receiving end of AR-15s and it is quite a different experience and of course they have a different opinion. The second amendment gave citizens the right to own guns in order to form a well-regulated militia (aka the National Guard)! Remember that there are two parts to the Second Amendment. It is not unreasonable to expect and legislate reasonable regulations on gun purchase and possession such as in depth background checks, ongoing training and certification, required safety locks on guns, age limits on the purchase of guns, ending gun show loopholes on the purchase of guns; end to civilian ability to purchase and own military style assault rifles; and support of research on the impacts of easy access to guns and violence within our society. I agree that at my advanced age, I have become more and more impressed with the sagacity of our young people compared with the inanity and lack of moral purpose
    of the older generation! I would advise Maya though to get the permission and support from her parents before engaging in any marches as of course she is still a minor. And of course children who want to support the second amendment should have the right to do so as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *