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Thursday, December 8, 2022
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Could we keep those a##es in their classes?

Editor’s Notebook: Could we keep those a##es in their classes?

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Another week brings another student walkout, as impressionable youth across the commonwealth, channeling their inner 1968, staged protests yesterday against changes in state policy regarding transgender students.

(File this one under “elections have consequences and those consequences can cut both ways,” kiddos …)

Taking no side in the subject under protest, I do raise a quiet plea that students stop using these issues to walk out of classes, thus effectively eliminating much chance of any educatin’ being done that day. Even if students return, things are so discombobulated for the remainder of the day that there’s no way to get it back on track.

And to borrow from the Bard, whom one hopes today’s students are still studying despite the European patriarchy being under assault from some corners, such protests are largely self-indulgent and effectively boil down to all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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But they do have unintended consequences in the broader scheme of things.

To use Fairfax County as one example, we had Saturday and Sunday, then we had a teacher workday Monday (code for “three-day weekend, whoo-hoo!” for students and plenty of teachers), then a disrupted Tuesday. At best, it’ll be three days of learning going on this week, unless I missed another holiday or special event that will yet again draws students out of their classrooms.

Know who’s probably getting five days of learning instead of three this week? Hundreds of millions of kids and future competitors in China, India and a whole lot of other places that take education much more seriously than we seem inclined to, and don’t let the inmates run the asylum, if I may pay a little homage to the fabulous Nurse Ratched of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” (RIP Louise Fletcher, who died a few days ago at 88.)

Want to protest? No problemo, as “WKRP” sales manager Herb Tarlek might have put it. Have at it. No complaints from me.

But if it’s important enough to do, it’s important enough to do on your own time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.

SPEAKING OF LOUISE FLETCHER: The aforementioned actress not only gave one of the great performances of all time in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but also gave one of the most tearjerker acceptance speakers when she used sign language to thank her parents, both of whom were born deaf.

Enjoy it below and try not to well up just a little. And kudos to the cameraman for pivoting quickly enough to capture part of the surprise moment.

— Scott McCaffrey

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