Dr. Helen

Should Your Child Resist His or Her School?

“Yes,” according to the new book I am reading entitled The Student Resistance Handbook. The author, Cevin Soling, advocates for youth to fight back non-violently against the tyranny of their school:

The Student Resistance Handbook provides children with information on how they can effectively fight back against their school and work towards abolishing this abusive and oppressive institution. Legal non-violent tactics are presented that are designed to: disrupt the operation of school, substantially increase the costs involved in its operation, and make those who work for and support schools as miserable as they make the students who are forced to attend. The text was conceived to empower youth to struggle against the helplessness, passivity, and despair that schools were designed to instill. John F. Kennedy accurately claimed that “learning without liberty is always in vain.” This Handbook provides students with tools to fight for their liberty in order to attain a real education.

Here are a few examples from the book: Score poorly on tests, refuse to be tested, or go slowly on tests. These suggestions are only for state-mandated tests where the school needs students to do well. Show apathy: “…the school system relies on you caring about your grades, a diploma, your test scores,and your reputation as a good student. As soon as you stop caring, you take away the power the system has over you. Naturally, there are consequences to this, but there are alternative methods of getting the equivalent of a high school degree and colleges accept students who do not attend traditional schools or even school in general.”

I admire this writer’s book in a lot of ways as I often talk to young men who are in school and don’t know how to deal with a system that is so stacked against them. For example, one young man told me his school would not sponsor an all-boy’s reading club (of course there was an all-girl’s reading club). He asked me what to do and it is a hard thing to tell a young man to go against a school that may retaliate and harm his future. But the author is correct, he believes we should stand for liberty. So do I. But where do you draw the line at possibly hurting an individual’s future?

What do you think? Should students, particularly young men resist their school? Or should they resist in certain ways and not in others?