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Is it worth it? Carlos R. Davalos | Sat, Jun 02 2012 12:00 PM

Congratulations, graduating high school seniors. A special note of recognition goes to the young men and women from Mar Vista High School who chose to demonstrate their disappointment with district administrators by momentarily protesting during their commencement exercises. I am happy for you. I hope all of you are prepared for the future.

Generally speaking most people don’t care for protests. Demonstrations can be bothersome and make people around you uncomfy. When Mar Vista students stood and turned their back to a speaker, they were greeted with cheers.

Moments later a voice echoed over the playing field telling seniors to be seated.

“The honor of the ceremony should not be tarnished,” it said.

Fair enough. Some parents and students probably wanted that day to be without distraction. And there may have been those in attendance who either don’t see anything wrong with what’s happening at the school district or don’t care. That, too, is OK.

However, the objective of a protest is to call attention to a particular issue. And that you did. You stood up for your beliefs and you should be commended.

Whether you go to university or join the military or take a crack at the workforce you will be confronted by moments that demand introspection. Where do I stand? Who am I?

Maybe you have already grappled with those questions in your young lives. But in the insulated world of high school — even at commencement exercises — the repercussions can be minimal. Now that you are big boys and girls, the consequences may be greater.

As one final assignment I hope you will do some research. Seek and view videos of last fall and winter’s Occupy protests. Pay special attention to the images of college students pepper sprayed by university police. Put aside the ideology and take note of the way massive groups of demonstrators were treated by police in New York or Oakland. Even here in San Diego. For extra credit watch the way protestors are treated in other parts of the world. Try to count how many beat downs or arrests you see. Figure out a way to calculate the legal and emotional costs associated with standing up for what you believe in. When you do, send me your findings with an answer to this question: Is it worth it?

Is standing up for your values worth the reactions — be they simple insults and scorn or arrest and abuse — you may encounter?

Will you stand up for your beliefs whatever they may be? Judging by your actions this week I’d say you will. I hope the adults in your life have prepared you accordingly. Good luck.

Questions or comments for Carlos?  Email: carlos@thestarnews.com; Twitter: @starnewschisme


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bothsides Says:

Wed, Jun 06 2012 11:22 AM

I commend the students that took the risk to stand up and get involved. I believe that is the cornerstone of a successful democracy. We are fortunate in the USA to have the right to disagree with politics and politicians.

And to those who said that students were "told" to that by a teacher - that is a discredit to those seniors. They are not mindless drones, they are intelligent, educated young adults with their own opinions.

As to the price people can pay when they stand up for what they believe - one only needs to look at that same district to see how people who don't follow the party line are "dealt with". But consider the state of this country and this world if no one stood up for what they believed was right... that would be sad indeed.

anniej Says:

Wed, Jun 06 2012 10:37 AM

'some parents and students probably wanted that day to be without distraction' - i respect all points of view. having said that i would like to add:

this is the real folks, this the real world where you are paying taxes on even a stick of gum. i for one understand taxes, not that i like them, but certain taxes are a must. HOWEVER, i do want my taxes spent in such a way that it will benefit those who i pay them for. i.e. the students - it is a known fact that the education of the students in the south bay is suffering.

parents wake up, educate yourselves about the real facts of what is going on at your school district. take a look at the % of district office personnel that have been let go compared to teachers, take a look at the salaries of the superintendent and the scheme he came up with to receive his retirement check as well as the salary - exactly what the new ab law was trying to stop - the double dipping. ask yourselves why the board, agreed to the scheme?

the time for these young adults to understand the importance of community is now. we can no longer simply show up in the election booth and believe that we are performing our due diligence. HIP HIP HOORAY FOR THOSE STUDENTS WHO UNDERSTOOD THE MESSAGE THAT DAY. I SALUTE YOU. you are the future leaders that will make a difference.!!!!!

to those who say it was a plot by the teachers i say this - i remember a very long time ago when i was in high school my teachers too also discussed local and national issues - the fact that they are spoken of in the classroom is important - look at the statistics, how many high school students even watch the evening news any longer. gone are the days of huntley and brinkley, gone are the mike wallace's.

just my opinion

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