I was always surprised at the response i received when people found out that I taught high school. The thought of spending the day with large groups of teenagers seemed horrifying to them. I assured them that they had no idea how fabulous teens can be and how lucky I felt to be spending so much time with them. When they're engaged, when they're passionate about something they are incredible to be around. Their energy, their belief in what's possible, their sense of humor, their innocence of how things have always been done made for an exhilarating and often exhausting day.
This has never been more apparent than in the weeks since the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. They have brilliantly sidestepped all the arguments that adults have levied at them in and surged forward in their quest to make substantial changes in the gun laws of the country.
Detractors have said they were pawns of adults with specific agendas or actors hired to play the part. Just like in the general population, there are plenty of teens who are very adept at public speaking and intelligent enough to create a well though out argument or proposal. Of course there will be a few who will take advantage of walk-outs and protests to perhaps get out of class or homework but these teens as a group right now remind me of the best in our society, fighting for their right to live safely and to get a violence free education. Please don't generalize negatively about them. Don't lump them all in as a less than because of few have been caught eating Tide pods as one newscaster said.
I support them in their quest to be heard, to feel safe, to make a difference. I think most intelligent Americans do too.