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Viewpoint: Take exception to dismissal and disrespect of students

To the editor: 

I was saddened to read the angry and dismissive "Viewpoint" by Mary Grosenick in the April 5 edition of the Hudson Star-Observer. She wrote an opinion piece about the National School Walkout following the latest school shooting. The viewpoint castigated the students as having "fallen into the lockstep of the left's political correctness to endorse one viewpoint on gun control." She calls the students "uninformed." She goes on to minimize the students' ability to critically think in the same article in which she says, "Obviously, the student didn't know the fact the killing was the result of government failures." There are multiple factual errors in the viewpoint where opinion is stated as "fact," and yet I support Ms. Grosenick's right to her opinion. That being said, I take exception to her disrespectful treatment of the students who marched.

As a local pediatrician for more than 20 years, I marveled at the response of students, not just in Parkland, Florida, but all over the country who stood up and said," Enough!" I have seen a number of children in my practice who are frightened about going to school or anxious about their vulnerability to this type of violence. I have read with interest about the students who didn't walk out as they did not support further gun control legislation, though many of those students did support improved mental health care. I read and watched many different news sources and it was clear that the students who did walk out did not speak with one voice regarding the specific changes necessary to keep their schools safe. They had many different opinions about what would help keep them safe, but a unified voice that no student should worry about being killed at school.

And I spoke with students who walked out. Students who experienced the empowerment of engaging in our right to organize and protest peacefully. Many of these students went from feeling fearful to feeling engaged in their government, empowered rather than powerless, and more fully a citizen. Ms. Grosenick criticizes a teacher and principal who helped to organize the protest. I believe that they offered students the best civics lesson they could learn at that moment.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." This sentence, repeated and modified by our Founding Father, Patrick Henry, should inform our support of the students, both those who walked out and those who didn't. It is also important to keep in mind when reading Ms. Grosenick's opinion piece.

Kelly Delahunty, MD

Hudson