Last Friday, Blaine High School, one of the five high schools that comprise the Anoka-Hennepin school district, erupted in protest after the Guys Dance Line was unable to perform at their homecoming pep fest. There was much speculation as to why they couldn’t perform, but either way, it does not justify the actions of the rioters.
As a graduate of Blaine High School, I have a lot of Blaine Bengal pride. Thanks to Blaine, I was able to have a fun, academic and positively challenging high school experience. Indeed, the Advanced Placement and College in the Schools classes, the motivating and intelligent teachers and coaches and the extracurricular activities trained many of the skills that I have brought to college.
Having said that, I find it in poor taste that a significant portion of the student body would riot throughout the school over such an issue. Though one can only speculate why GDL was not allowed to perform, the resulting actions by students may suggest that they lack the societal awareness that would enable them to frame or compare the “issue” of GDL amongst actual issues of importance.
Unfortunately, though, it seems as though many of Blaine’s high school students were too fixated upon this situation. You do not see high school students rioting over issues that actually affect their daily lives, such as education reform, the developing issue of student lunches or how some of them could be barred from voting with the new voter ID amendment.
Though they are young and don’t always have access to the greater intellectual community, high school students need to realize the importance of their actions in context of a wider narrative. Rioting at their school shows their community what they are passionate about and what they see as problematic, yet students need to learn and to think about these wider, more influential issues for themselves. Often, we within the University of Minnesota community are near the epicenter of debate, but we must too realize our place in the spread of ideas on important issues.
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