Teen Second Amendment Advocate Pulled from Speakers Lineup at School Gun Assembly
A 17-year-old student at Farmington High School, a public school in Connecticut, has been advised by the student activities director that she will not be allowed to speak during a school assembly on March 14 to support the nationwide student walkout for gun control. The student, Ashley Dummitt, was originally asked by the organizers of the rally to give her conservative, pro-Second Amendment views to the assembly in the name of bipartisanship, but the school administration has since blocked her participation.
Here's what Ashley said in her Facebook post:
So apparently I am no longer allowed to speak at the gun reform rally my school is hosting? I just received this email from the office:
“Hi Ashley-I am the Student Activities Director here at FHS. I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you have asked to speak at the assembly on 3/14 on behalf of the NRA and CCDL [Connecticut Carry Defense League] point of view. As someone who has supported student voices being heard here at FHS, I understand your desire to be heard, but I do not think this is the correct venue to do so. The rally will support student voices, but will first and foremost act as a tribute to the victims of the FL shooting and other tragedies like it. I encourage you to share your views at other events and would be happy to work with you to create your own if you would like. I know that the Young Moderators club is meeting next week- that is just one example of a great venue to engage in a bipartisan discussion on the topics you suggested. Thanks”
This ‘student voices’ rally is strictly on the topic of gun reform. For the school to restrict this being bipartisan makes me beyond angry. I do not know how to handle this situation. Where is my freedom of speech? Don’t I have the right to be able to represent all voices in this town? Any advice?
In other words, she can have her free speech as long as it's somewhere else, in front of different people.
Farmington High School Principal Bill Silva wrote in an email to parents that the assembly has been "collaboratively planned by administrators, teachers, staff, and students." According to Silva, "Our activity is focused on the topic of Student Voice and Positive Social Change." The planned event will include a moment of silence, reading the names of the victims, and student speakers, according to the principal.
Silva said that the school is offering an "alternate video presentation in the auditorium, which will highlight examples of students who have used their voice to promote positive change in their communities through public service and volunteering" for students who do not wish to attend the assembly. "All students will have the choice as to which program they will attend," he said. "In offering both of these programs, our primary goal is to ensure we have a safe and productive school day on March 14, while still providing an opportunity to recognize the importance of student voice [sic] in promoting positive change in regards to school safety and security and other social issues. Our collaborative planning with faculty, staff, and students is part of our ongoing commitment to creating a united school community that emphasizes respect, belonging, and trust."