Though many high schoolers (obviously) cannot vote, students at the rally stressed that they still want to raise awareness for the issue and encourage people who can vote to do so. In Kansas in particular, this is very relevant as an overturn of Roe could lead to a ban in the state. Right now protections in the state are strong, but thanks to anti-choice organizers, a vote is already scheduled for Aug. 2 to remove abortion protections in the Kansas state constitution.
Students carried posters they made for the rally, which ultimately went off without a hitch. Per local outlet KSN, however, school principal Brent Reidy sent a letter to parents saying that while the school recognizes students have a constitutional right to participate, the absences from class will not be considered excused, and classes will continue as scheduled.
Reidy went on to say students may face disciplinary action in accordance with the no distract policy surrounding their absences for the protest. The letter also stated that school staff will not participate in the rally and that the school does not “endorse” or “promote” the demonstration or any others.
An anonymous student told the outlet (correctly) that taking away abortion protections doesn’t mean stopping abortion, but instead means “taking away personal control.” The student went on to say states shouldn’t be able to make decisions about a person’s “bodily autonomy” and that making abortion illegal only stops safe abortions.
Again: These are high schoolers talking. That’s pretty impressive and certainly very brave. These teens (and many others like them) are using facts, science, compassion, and empathy to argue their points and defend both their own rights and the rights of others. That’s more than most Republicans can say, and that’s being generous.
The youth are leading us in the right direction, but they shouldn’t have to.
You can catch some local footage from the protest below.