Don’t tolerate school walkouts, or criminals

Nearly anything that gets their noses out of their cellphones and video games and into the wider world may be welcome, but there is a big problem with the high school walkouts being planned by students around the country to show support for more restrictions on guns.

The problem is that the students are required to be in school during the school day, not out protesting. The country is paying for them to be in school. Schools will suffer financial losses from the lost time, which will have to be made up if education is not to be sacrificed (teachers are not going to volunteer to give up their pay for the teaching time lost to a walkout).

And schools should not take sides in politics.

Of course there's no need for students to take time out from school to hold political rallies and otherwise get involved in politics. There is plenty of time for that after school during the week and on weekends. Indeed, by settling on a walkout during the school day rather than a rally after school or on a weekend, students seem to figure that they will draw more fellow students to their cause precisely by creating an opportunity to cut or disrupt classes.

That's part of what made the Vietnam War protests so popular at colleges during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Many colleges were so intimidated by the student disruptions that they not only canceled classes but awarded course credits to students who never earned them.

Will high school administrations condone and excuse the planned walkouts or will they impose normal discipline on students who cut or disrupt classes? Schools that condone or excuse the walkouts will be politicizing themselves. They also will be obliging themselves to do the same for all sorts of causes they may not want to approve.

Enforce the law

Federal immigration agents are being criticized for arresting illegal immigrants at the state courthouses in Stamford and New Haven as the illegals show up to answer for criminal charges pending against them. This tactic is said to interfere with the administration of justice, scaring people away from courthouses. Connecticut Chief Justice Chase T. Rogers last year asked the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Homeland Security Department not to do things this way.

But courthouses may be the best places to apprehend certain illegal immigrants, especially those in trouble with the criminal law, and complaints about the practice presume that federal immigration law simply should not be enforced, even though, ordinarily, federal law takes precedence over state law. That is, such complaints are another form of advocacy of nullification of federal law.

Illegal immigrants aren't supposed to be in the country in the first place. If their criminal cases are effectively terminated by deportation, state government will avoid much expense.

This does not mean that the country's immigration problem should not be addressed humanely through new laws that give a chance of legal residency and eventually citizenship to illegal immigrants, especially those illegal immigrants who long have been living decently and productively in the country and those who were brought here as children, people who as a practical matter have no other home.

But most advocates of illegal immigrants seem not to want any immigration law enforcement at all. They seem to want the country's borders erased, which would be dissolution of the country.

Every day from Connecticut to California advocates of illegal immigrants denounce as "white supremacists" anyone who calls for restoring ordinary controls on immigration and ordinary security at the borders. Attempting political intimidation, these advocates for illegal immigrants are damaging their own cause.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.



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