It was reported in the news on March 15 that Governor Andrew Cuomo, in an open letter, called on State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to take action against school officials who tried to keep students from leaving schools to join a protest against gun violence.
The report further stated that the governor called upon Elia to stop school officials from disciplining students and faculty members for leaving school to protest, for to do so is “not only inappropriate, it is unconstitutional.” Are you kidding me?
What is unconstitutional about keeping our students in school so that they can learn? We have an obligation to teach students in our schools during school hours – that’s what our taxpayers pay for.
Of course people, including students, have the right to express their points of view, and hopefully this is happening in our schools. There is plenty of time to protest, whatever the issue may be, outside of school hours.
By Governor Cuomo’s logic, students have the constitutional right to participate in protests or demonstrations and can leave school to do so. Would the governor feel the same way if the demonstration was a pro-life rally?
How about a protest against sanctuary city officials who impede federal law enforcement officers from arresting illegal immigrants who are charged with crimes? Or how about students protesting the pay-to-play corruption of the Cuomo administration?
Who is going to decide which protests and demonstrations are worthy ones – the governor? The solution is simple: let teachers teach and students learn in our schools during school hours and leave the politics for other times.
State Senator John DeFrancisco is a Republican candidate for governor.