Right to Assemble

January 13, 2020

As the week begins, I am struggling to understand the unconscionable statement coming out of Florida’s DoE to terminate teachers if they attend a rally in the state’s capital, Tallahassee, to urge lawmakers to provide more financial support to them.

Are you kidding?! Teachers are already working themselves to the bone. Working overtime without pay. Investing in students’ futures with little financial return. Teachers can make or break your child’s outlook on learning, leaders, and life lessons.

It is an abhorrent decision by the state. One, I feel, will only further the frustrations and distrust with the state’s decisions. A poor decision by the ‘powers that be’ to strong arm our districts and teachers to comply with their feeble, insensitive, and illegal demand to not attend a rally by threatening their jobs. What happened to Freedom of Speech? The right to assemble peacefully? The right to assemble peacefully is the only way to create a movement to persuade lawmakers to change their direction and tell them that their constituents are unhappy with the current state of affairs. Peaceful rallies have been an integral part of our nation’s history from protesting the Vietnam War to the Me Too movement, to name a few.

And we, as parents, must support our teachers. I have read many comments, posts, and thoughts from parents who do not think this is an effective tool. That this rally will not grant teachers what they are hoping for. I would argue that you, clearly, have a bias against a profession wanting a better life. What if this had happened to doctors, lawyers, or businessmen? Would your outlook be the same? Would you tell them not to attend a rally to make their professional life better? My guess is, probably ‘no’. Why? Because it’s YOUR profession. And you want better for you, your family, and your profession.

Teachers would like the same. They are no different than any other profession except they are taken for granted that they will continue to do stellar work for pennies, scrape by with adequate materials, and support and take care of your child while they are with them.

I am a former educator in the states of Georgia and Florida, and have a son who is currently teaching in North Carolina, and I am appalled that anyone can feel this way. If you do, I would ask you to volunteer in a classroom for one hour a week to see the incredible workload these talented teachers have.

So, back to us parents. We must find ways to support our teachers. Whether it be by understanding their need and right to assemble in the state/nation’s capital to demand change, or lending a hand in their classrooms (if possible), or providing financial help (if possible), OR just not saying anything because you would do the same thing if in their shoes and it were your profession.

Change is inevitable. It is the only constant. And we, parents, are obligated to support those who support us.