The Instigator
alexstilts
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Adam_Godzilla
Con (against)
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Are student walkouts an effective form of protest?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/15/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 715 times Debate No: 119006
Debate Rounds (3)
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alexstilts

Pro

To preface, I have led and been an organizer of multiple student walkouts. In the modern day, Starting with the National School Walkout back in April, Walkouts are one of the most effective forms of student protest.

To be clear, I don't believe this system to be perfect. Walkouts cannot solve every issue. However, They are best when they are empowering and motivating. Students are genuinely motivated by walkouts, And they place in people a sense of personal power. Personal empowerment is highly influential when the next generation enters a political world. The motivating factor of a walkout is one of the reasons that it is very effective.

Another benefit of walkouts is that they are uniting. One major advantage of a protest, Compared to another political actions like voting, Is that it unites people. People come onto the streets to share their voices, And as part of this, People are united together. Especially for the youth of the future, This unity is heavily important.
Adam_Godzilla

Con

For people who don't know (not everyone is American), A school walkout is when kids leave classroom in protest of gun laws.

Personally, I am against guns, I've done a debate on them. Here we're not discussing whether guns are good or bad, But we're discussing whether walkouts are effective. Let's agree on that.

Walkouts aren't effective because as Pro says they can't solve every issue. Gun laws have already tightened up, It's unlikely to go further without causing riots.

Walkouts also affect student education. Students are already demotivated to learn in class. Giving them extra time out of school will affect their grades.

Unity is good, But it might cause mob mentalities. Students could bully kids who disagree with them.

I think it's more important to educate kids as fully as possible. Some of these kids will become politicians one day and will then truly have power.

This is a debate where I'm not motivated to win. I genuinely want to hear Pro's point of view.



Debate Round No. 1
alexstilts

Pro

To start, I would like to say that you make very good points, And I am glad you would like to hear my point of view.

In regards to missing education, I can say that this isn"t a specific problem for walkouts. To be clear, We do have a problem with education in this country; actually, We have many. This includes a vast lack of in-school days. However, This is an issue that a lack of walkouts would not fix. The National School Walkout, Which I ended up as a leader of, Made me very skeptical. At the time, I remember saying that it was just a disruption of class, But as the day drew nearer I realized how important it was. Walkouts are almost entirely made up of high school students, With some middle schoolers, Groups who can handle missing school for a day. As they become adult citizens who should be participating in politics, Being civically engaged becomes more important than a day of normal classes. Students take more non-important field trips than they do walkouts, And walkouts end up having a far bigger impact on the world. In a way, A walkout is like a day of instructional time, Introducing students to important concepts with politics, Organizing, Leadership, And civic engagement.

Additionally, There are many issues that need to be addressed outside of an already addressed one like guns. Walkouts are great for bringing attention to topics, As walking out of school basically forces viewership of what is going on. A great benefit of protest is that it is certain to draw media coverage and gather public attention, As is the way of giant groups of the civically engaged. While issues like guns may be being tackled head-on, There are many concerns of the people that need to be addressed. Via a walkout, The importance of these issues can be shown to politicians, And to adults who may not fully be paying attention.

There are also walkouts that have to do with issues not to do with political leaders. I created the Oct12 walkout, A nationwide walkout on October 12th in support of survivors of sexual assault. I didn"t bring together thousands of people with the intent of trying to get some old people in Washington to pay attention; it could"ve written or called much easier. A protest like Oct12 was intended to be directly for survivors. It was a solidarity walkout, Drawing large amounts of attention to those who need it and standing by them. Walkouts have far larger and more important purposes than just appealing to lawmakers.
Adam_Godzilla

Con

"Groups who can handle missing school for a day. As they become adult citizens who should be participating in politics, Being civically engaged becomes more important than a day of normal classes. Students take more non-important field trips than they do walkouts, And walkouts end up having a far bigger impact on the world. "

I think school trips for the students to meet families of the victims of shootings are much better than walkouts. Walkouts are, Like I said, A form of mob mentality. It is dangerous to go marching around in defiance of what is a controversial topic. Around 40% of America own guns.

And this is what student walkouts want:

  • Banning assault weapons, High-capacity magazines and bump stocks
  • Mandating universal background checks
  • Placing a minimum age of 21 on all gun purchases
  • Implementing waiting periods between a gun purchase and gun transfers
  • Allowing families to petition a court to remove guns from individuals at risk of injuring themselves
This is highly controversial. These students are fighting against half of America. This isn't like when black people protested for rights, This is much more nuanced.

And students are also getting punished for walkouts.

They're spending more and more detention classes for walking out.

I think walkouts are an extreme form of protest that is akin to strikes. Nobody likes strikes. The best way is for students around the country to visit and mourn for these family members. They need to be educated. Educated about gun violence and laws. They need to build empathy.

Marching around and saying no to guns, I've seen these walkouts, A lot of these students are smiling, Laughing, As if they're going on a picnic. They don't get it. They don't get the pain. The suffering.

In your example, The students should've visited and talke to these sexual assault victims. To feel their pain. Not be part of a walkout, Snapchat it to their friends, So they can feel better about themselves.

A lot of these kids also walkout to skip class. I can't blame them. School sucks.

Educate these kids. Mkae them powerful. And then when they're adults they can vote the crap out of the government. All peacefully, With zero controversy.
Debate Round No. 2
alexstilts

Pro

Protests are supposed to be controversial, To some extent. This is part of their necessity, To trigger public response and start conversations. You mentioned the fact that many are smiling and laughing, And this is true; I believe it is a necessity. Fighting for what is right against horrible wrongs in the world is really hard, And it"s pleasant to be able to have a good time while protesting. This is also a natural effect of having been a child and being given a voice, Similar to how people feel when they first vote. Students at walkouts feel empowered, And like they"re having an impact on the world around them. Their sense of empowerment is what makes them appear happy and enthusiastic to other people: they are finally being given a voice by society.

Directly visiting victims and survivors is a great idea, But it is on a much smaller scale and doesn"t stop central problems. With the example of the walkout for gun control, It is great to visit victims of mass shootings but it doesn"t stop the causes of the problem. By uniting in favor of a cause, Gathering massive amounts of media attention, And taking action (that walkout was involved in registering many students to vote as well, So that they could have a voice), The National School Walkout to do with gun control could make change that visiting survivors could not. And to be clear, The protests to do with gun control were almost entirely organized by the survivors of the Parkland massacre.

My walkout in solidarity with sexual assault survivors was also much more effective than just visiting sexual assault survivors. This is for a number of reasons. The biggest is that we were out on the streets and had greater reach. By this, We stood in solidarity on a greater scale than going directly. Additionally, The vast majority of sexual assaults go unreported to authorities, Meaning that there are many victims out there who we would not be able to visit. At the Los Angeles branch of the walkout, We had people come to speak in front of City Hall who told their stories, Stories that they sometimes confessed they had never told anyone before. This is a powerful form of direct change.

To be clear, There isn"t anything "mob mentality" about walkouts; it"s about unity. Though political parties can cause mob mentalities to form, For the most part nobody uses this argument against nonprofit organizations working to make change. The next generation, Gen Z, Has access to more information than any generation has before us at our age. This means that we are well-informed on the issues and have great amounts of knowledge about them. With most of us not able to vote, Walkouts allow us to band together in a similar way to adults voting for a cause, And work to make change in the world around us.

Walkouts are exciting; they give us voices, Where we didn"t know we could have a voice. Walkouts are stressful; they take thorough planning and often have extreme opposition (I have personally gotten hate Tweets and hate mail). Walkouts are powerful; they can cause people to have a space to come forward with their stories, And to have lawmakers discuss making change on issues. All of this comes to one conclusion: student-led walkouts are very important.
Adam_Godzilla

Con

Walk-outs are not very effective. Talking to victims is much more effective and WILL solve central problems. These kids need to be aware of the world around them.


I don't think governments will react to walk-outs at all.

Here is the deal, What is the aim of walkouts? To convince governments to change law right?

How do walkouts convince governments? Because by doing walkouts, The government gets scared that kids are losing education.

But here's the thing, Governments KNOW that students won't risk their education too much. Sure, They'll walkout here and there but not so much that it creates a problem for society. In order for student walkouts to truly be a problem, It must go to the extreme. Students have to miss half of or a whole school year.

Just missing a couple days of school won't scare the government. They'll just say "Oh those silly kids are protesting again". And students laughing and enjoying walkouts just shows the government that they're not serious.

It's impossible for kids to risk their education like that. Kids cannot risk not going to school for a year. It will affect their later education way too much.

I'm not saying students shouldn't do walkouts. I'm just saying don't expect to change the government because of them.

And Pro says that student walkouts are dangerous. Then this is more reason not to do them.

Make the kids involved with the victims. Make them understand how painful it is to lose someone to guns. Let the victims speak to kids one on one.


I remember in my high school, A long time ago, I had a guest speaker who survived a traumatic incident where there was a mass shooting terorist attack. She was shot three times and was bleeding. Her story was so powerful that I saw one girl cry after hearing it. And this girl was one of those basic girls who didn't care about anything but makeup and stuff. I realised that sharing stories, Sharing suffering, Is the best way to educate kids.




Debate Round No. 3
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