Clueless Dad Furious About 2nd Graders’ Ferguson Protest

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schoolThe father of a second-grade student at Alma Del Mar Charter School in New Bedford, Massachusetts is raising all kinds of stink after his daughter participated in a small protest outside of her school during recess. He’s angry because he thinks seven-year-olds are too young to be protesting anything. I say, “Viva la revolución!”

On Friday, a few students from teacher Shabrina Guerrier’s second-grade class held a protest, complete with signs and chanting and everything. What was the protest about? The end of tater tot Wednesdays? From The Boston Globe:

According to Will Gardner, the school’s founder and executive director, [the] students requested to hold the protest after a lesson on citizenship and the First Amendment, in which topics in the media, including the August death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., were discussed.

No shit? Wow. Well, that kicks some serious ass. I would be so proud of my kid if they heard about something that they perceived to be an injustice and wanted to do something about it. I would have picked them up from their protest and taken them out for ice cream. So why is George Borden, whose daughter Alana was part of the protest, so angry? Could it have anything to do with the fact that he has been a police officer in New Bedford for the past 15 years?

Rut roh.

Yes, looks like dad wasn’t thrilled to see his daughter out there among signs saying things like, “Honk if you want justice.” Because I guess cops didn’t come off real well in this whole Ferguson thing, or something. He is arguing that the kids were unduly influenced by their teacher’s political views, saying, “I don’t think 7-year-olds can come up with the idea to go out and protest on the street.” Maybe not, if they aren’t part of a group that has had reasons to stage protests before. However, it sounds to me like they probably learned about protesting in this class, which talked about freedom of speech. Does freedom of speech not apply to seven-year-olds? Or do we follow up a demonstration of their first amendment rights by telling them to keep quiet?

Based on what the school is saying, this was a student-initiated protest on a subject that everyone was aware that the class would be talking about. First of all, the teacher, Ms. Guerrier, did not raise these issues without the parents’ knowledge:

On Wednesday, Guerrier sent a slip home with students alerting parents that class discussion would include topics of race, diversity, and issues covered by the media…Parents had the option of holding their student out of the conversation.


Second, the teacher did not suggest or organize the protest. These students went to the head of the school, Emily Stainer, to ask if they could do it. After making sure that any safety concerns were addressed and telling the students that this protest was not to be anti-police, she gave them the ok. Borden didn’t find out about the protest until a friend called him saying he had driven by the school and seen Borden’s daughter protesting.

And that, my friends, is why you always read everything in your kid’s take-home folder.

Clearly, this is a case of a father not agreeing with what the protest stood for and feeling embarrassed about it due to his job. But seven-year-olds are plenty old enough to understand the difference between right and wrong. They are old enough to have their own feelings about things. And the fact that his daughter was was brave enough to take part in this protest should make her father weep with pride. Or, you know, get mad at the school for allowing her to act on her beliefs without his permission. I guess that’s an option, too.