The last time I remember so many students walking out of class was in 1970, a month before I moved to Laguna for the first time. That is when an estimated 4 million college and high school students protested the Ohio National Guard killing four young people at Kent State. Today, school administrators are threatening students who walk out in protest of the South Florida massacre with suspensions of three days or longer.
All I can tell you is this father of three was a 21-year-old senior at USC when the tragedy at Kent State occurred. The photographs from that terrible day have stuck with me my entire life. I am sure the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will remember what happened to them their entire life as well.
When you consider that young people 18 or older can join the military, and possibly die for their country, then I believe they are old enough to deal with the consequences of walking out of class. If they do make that decision, then I hope they will do it thoughtfully and peacefully. If students remember that, they will be helping this nation come to grips with its gun fixation like no one else before them.
Great social change never comes easy. Being suspended from school for several days is a small price to pay for reminding parents coast to coast what truly is right and wrong in America.
Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach