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In Opposition to the School Walk-Out


An open letter to MSAD #20 Superintendent, Tim Doak from a concerned parent regarding the recent national “Walk Out” Day.


Fort Fairfield Journal, March 14, 2018


Dear Mr. Doak,

   As a father of four students who attend MSAD 20, three in Fort Fairfield Elementary School and one in Fort Fairfield Middle School, I am dismayed about the letter I received about your decision to allow students to “walk out” for 17 minutes on March 14.

   In your letter you state “Students will be exercising their freedom of speech rights with regard to school violence on school property” While students and teachers do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate, speech is not quite as free inside public educational institutions as outside.  It is accurate to say public school students have First Amendment rights within school, but certainly not as many rights as adults, due to maturity.

   A minor cannot make, nor be expected to make, the same decisions that an adult. The First Amendment protects the rights of students to "speak", and may include the right to do or say something in a school setting -- such as protest against actions that violate legally-protected rights. I don’t believe this is the case, because the class has been interrupted and the teaching has stopped. This does not mean that students and teachers have no First Amendment rights at school. Quite the contrary. But within the educational setting, the right to free speech is implemented in ways that do not interfere with schools’ educational mission.

   There is a need for schools to control student behavior in order to preserve the sanctity of the learning environment and to keep the goal of school in mind — to educate. If the action of students interferes with the educational process, that act needs to be suppressed.

   I would like to quote [Maine] Representative Dustin White [R-Washburn] from an article :

   "Though I strongly support everyone’s right to protest, students included, these protests have no place in our schools. The school is a sacred institution that is principally unbiased, and filled with teachers devoted to furthering their students’ education. However, allowing students to walk out of class for 17 minutes not only hinders the teacher’s ability to educate, it undermines the neutral position an educational institution must take. For a walkout is not a remembrance but a political action. As a nation, as a state, and as a community we all have a right to grieve in our own way, but a walkout is a sign of defiance and protest that has no place in our schools.

   Students who value this neutrality or disagree will feel uncomfortable or compelled to participate so not to be the outlier. It only serves to further divide our communities. Now more than ever we must show solidarity, not division. We must be strong, and we must be united. For this reason I condemn any school official who allows these protests to take place without consequence to its students. I call upon Mr. Doak and all district superintendents to rescind their effort to further advance any political agenda and create division in our schools."

   I agree with Rep. White. Also, I believe you could have chosen a less controversial approach to what the students seek. The students could have included symbolic speech actions, such as wearing armbands, moment of silence, hand out flyers, and wear expressive clothing in school, express his/her opinions orally and in writing — as long as it does not disrupt classes or other school activities - unlike the “walkout” you agreed to.

   Public institutions, such as schools, hold a “loco parentis” status, which means while a student is in the custody of a school, the school can and often should act as a parent. I believe your decision on a “walkout” clearly shows you are not, in fact, thinking on the behalf of all the students. I raise my children to be God-fearing patriots who love our country and the Constitution that binds us all. I have explained to my children what happened in Florida and the letter you sent. I explained why they will not be participating in your approved walkout. To add another quote by Rep. White, “Students who value this neutrality or disagree will feel uncomfortable or compelled to participate so not to be the outlier.”  This too I fear. Will other students treat my son as an outcast? Think lesser of him? Think the wrong thoughts about him?

   This troubles me deeply and if he is ridiculed it will be because of your actions.

   As Rep. White said, I too hope you rescind your letter and find a positive and non-political alternative.

Thank you for your time.


Philip A. Long

Fort Fairfield


Mr. Long:

  I agree with your position and that of Rep. White.  Rather than a Walk Out, which is ostensibly a political move to further the outlawing of firearms, students should instead spend that much time every day being taught what happens to a society when only the government has the guns and the citizenry are reduced to disarmed peasants working for prison labor wages—if they receive any money at all. 

   For an introductory course in the plight of disarmed societies, I recommend the DVD, Innocents Betrayed produced by JPFO (  For more advanced courses, Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and Shirer’s Rise and Fall of the Third Reich would make good textbooks to those ends.    

   Authoritarianism only works out well for those who are left holding the guns.  Guns exclusively in the government’s hands will create the biggest bully of all at the expense of all the rest of us in society.  It is politically-contrived events like these “Walk-Outs” that capitalize on the government’s stage-managed  and orchestrated school shootings in order to push forth a victim disarmament agenda that ultimately adversely affects us all.

David Deschesne


Fort Fairfield Journal