My Point of View: Administration handled A.L. school protest well

Published 10:00 pm Monday, April 30, 2018

My Point of View, By Ebenezer Howe III

I was remiss in my last column not mentioning that Zach Glazier, 170-pound state wrestling champ’s brother, Cole, a seventh-grader, also made the varsity wrestling team and a trip to the Section 1AAA tournament, finishing in fifth place. He also follows the family tradition in academics, making the straight A honor roll at Southwest Middle School.

Ebenezer Howe

Then in the Tribune article, Wednesday, April 11, “New life for an old machine,” four members of the Albert Lea FFA, traveled to Culpeper, Virginia, to pick up a 1958 tractor for a restoration project. Imagine being a fly in the cab of that truck, four high schoolers all under 18 years of age making that 19 hour each way trip over a long weekend. Oh, what stories must have been told. Yep, I checked, and half of them made the straight A honor roll. 

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The May 8 referendum vote is one week away. Those in District 241, please exercise your right to vote on this. Other than the total cost, my questions are on the artificial turf. Has the quality and safety improved? When the Vikings and Gophers started playing in the Metrodome, there were many more injuries and high cost of replacement at what I thought was too high a frequency. I hope these factors have been weighed into the plan.

“A.L. students protest gun violence” was the top headline in the Tribune’s weekend edition for Saturday, April 21. I believe the way the school administration handled this was very good. They let every student who wanted to participate do so and the students knew up front what the tariff for participation was going to be: unexcused absence with associated consequences.

This plan of action produced an environment that let the students organize the protest for those who wanted to participate, and those who chose not to participate were not forced into it. The students who organized the protest gained some invaluable experience in planning and executing an event. Those who spoke got a seldom opportunity to write a speech and then deliver it in front of 100 people.

Having the police, the school principal and another administrator present allowing only authorized folks on the grounds during the time of the protest produced as safe an environment as possible for the demonstration.

The article stated that one of the speakers said the school district had been relatively neutral toward the walkout. This neutrality should have sown an environment for civil discourse in the many discussions that would have taken place in the classrooms, lunch room and hallway talk.

Folks probably know what side I come down on this subject, but I think it is very important that all people are free to talk about how they feel on the subject. Also, all people need to use facts and logical arguments when discussing any topic, gun control especially. We need to determine what has changed from the 1950s to when school shootings started. For Christmas when I was 10, that would have been in 1953, I received a single shot .22-caliber rifle. I took it to school on the school bus for show and tell, and I don’t remember any grief for doing that. Of course, I did not have any bullets with me; I had to save up to buy them.

Think about this and think hard. What changed between the ’50s and when the shootings started? I have my ideas and that may be a subject for a future column.

I would like to thank the Albert Lea Tribune for providing just the right amount of coverage on the gun violence protest at Albert Lea High School. The protest was one hour of one day and the coverage was one article — just right.

Alden resident Ebenezer Howe is chairman of the Freeborn County Republican Party. His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the local party members.