By Reid Shniderman ’20
There is a big difference between student activism and school activism.
Student activism is about individual students who work to address an issue in the community. It’s when students come together as an organized group to protest or volunteer to help make a change.
Like the labor unions over the years, student activism is founded on the principle that the students have control over their activism; that they are committing to their goal to make that change in society.
School activism, however, is the activism of the entire body of students, teachers, administrators, and staff of an educational institution.
This sort of activism calls for the whole body of the school to participate in some sort of political or social movement. The problem with that is the few students and teachers that may not want to be included in the activism.
If students or teachers do not agree with the activities of the school’s status quo, then they might be viewed as people who are against advocating for “social justice”, which is a core element at Brophy.
Even if a school-led protest is made “optional” to everyone, there is a physiological effect that nudges unwilling individuals to hop on the bandwagon. Many of the student’s peers will participate, and whether they agree with the school or not doesn’t matter.
The example of the “activism for extra credit” dilemma, which rewards students with better grades for following with the school even if they don’t side with the school in reality, is another part of the psychological usage of students for social justice propaganda. This strengthens the idea of school activism by forcing kids to either comply with the school body’s ideals or risk the possibility of hurting their grades.
Student activism is different. When multiple students come together as a group and take a stance on any particular issue, they are free from the status quo that the school may carry. Students shouldn’t have to be pressed to agree, whether it be extra credit or peer pressure.
This not to say that you shouldn’t advocate for what you think is right. On the contrary, you should advocate for what you personally believe in. We can fix this by asking ourselves to not act from the interest of higher grades or being approved of. Instead, we should ask ourselves to ultimately act from our hearts.
Thus, student activism allows much more freedom than school activism.