On March 14 at 10 am students at South Eugene High School, the University of Oregon and other schools across the country walked out of their classes.

When I told a University of Oregon School of Law professor that I would be missing a few minutes of class to stand with them, I was told that while I have that right, it is unprofessional. Specifically, I was told: “I expect professionalism, and participating in this walk-out, however brief, does not meet that standard.”

It’s been 20 years since the Thurston shooting and, as we know, school shootings haven’t stopped. The outrage, the sadness, the fear — none of it has stopped, but this time the young people have had enough. This time students are doing what adults couldn’t. They’re demanding action, and we should, too.

Protesting for student lives isn’t unprofessional. I don’t think the actions of these young people are unprofessional — in fact, I think it shows us a lot about their character and the character of the people who find their passive resistance to be “unprofessional.”

Kimberly Koops-Wrabek

Candidate, State Representative, House District 11

Public Law & Policy Fellow, University of Oregon School of Law 

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