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Should College Students Join Protests

College is not just a place for setting up your future but is also a place of exploration, identity formation, and philosophical reflection. It is during this time that students test their boundaries, question tradition, and realize new experiences.

Protesting is a gesture of objection or disapproval of an idea or action. For the longest time, many students have participated in various protests and have become their way of expressing themselves and making their voices heard. Since the 15th century, some records show students actively voicing their disgust and disapproval, and it has been going on for centuries from generation to generation.

Unfortunately, not everyone is keen on this, as some are scared of joining certain protests in fear of being punished by their respective universities. So the question now is, should college students join protests?

To answer this, you need to understand what are your rights as a student. According to the first amendment, the US Constitution prohibits any law limiting freedom with respect to religion, expression, peaceful assembly, or the right of citizens to petition the government.

Does The First Amendment Apply To Schools?

The first amendment does not stop the moment you step into your school. You have every right to voice out and express yourself as long as you do not violate any school policies and do not cause any disruption in your school’s functionality. Having a different belief with your campus does not count as “being disruptive” and should not be taken against you.

Unfortunately, many school officials are unaware of students’ legal protections. It is the reason why we often see student protesters suffer unfair sanctions or punishments. It is crucial that you know your rights and that every student is treated equally and fairly. 

Can The School Punish You For Participating In Such Activities?

Your school cannot prohibit you from being expressive, but the moment you start missing your class or using your rights to do so, then they have the reason to discipline you. However, your political stand or your belief should not affect the severity of your punishment. Different schools have different policies when it comes to punishments. If you participated in a walkout and are being punished for missing class, it should not be harsher to a student who missed class unexcused.

When Should You Join A Protest?

There is no written rule on when or where you should join a protest. As long as you share the same belief, then you can always engage yourself in these activities. Just keep in mind that even though you have the freedom to participate in such activities, you also have to consider its implications. You have to ask yourself, are you ready to face the consequences of your action? Is it worth sacrificing the things you will miss for what you are fighting for? If you answer yes, then the only person that can stop you is yourself.

When Should You Not Join A Protest?

Not everything is your battle. Even though you and the other protestors share the same feeling, it is not the only factor you need to consider in joining a protest. If you feel that your life would be endangered or anyone for that matter, then not joining would be a more logical choice. Protesting is not the only means to express yourself.

Do Not Let Your Emotions Or Peer Pressure Cloud Your Judgement

Many students participate in various protests just because they succumbed to peer pressure. Often, students are also easily persuaded because of their immaturity and for being too emotional. That is why it is essential that you have to be rational when making such decisions.

So going back to the question, should college students join a protest? There is no law prohibiting you from participating in one. The law protects you from doing these things. However, just because you are allowed to do it does not mean that you should always participate. Remember that, like everything else in this world, protesting has its pros and cons, and sometimes one outweighs the other. When participating in a protest, you need to make sure that you consider everything and are well prepared for the consequences.

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