Kids: Understanding Protesting

With so much going on in the news, I think it's time for us to talk about protesting. Not sure what it means to protest? A protest is a way for you to say that you do not agree with, are angry about, or object to a person, an idea, a policy, or the action of someone else. Simply put, it means that you have a right to speak up when you think something is wrong. That "right" is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The First Amendment protects five basic rights, but the two concerning protesting are: freedom of speech and the freedom to a peaceful assembly. Notice that I said a "peaceful" assembly. Under no circumstances is violence in a protest protected by the Constitution. That's important to remember. 

It's also important to remember that when something is wrong, you need to speak up and say it is wrong. I know this is not easy. In fact it is downright hard to stand up and say enough is enough. We've talked about this in terms of bullying. If you see it, stand up and say "Stop it." If it's happening to you, tell the bully to "Stop it." Doing this is protesting what is happening and speaking out. 

The protesting you have seen lately is not really much different. It is a group of people who feel the same way about something they believe is wrong. So, they decide to use their constitutional right to speak out and to gather with others who believe the same thing.

Peaceful protests are not something to be afraid of. You may not agree with them--and that is okay--but there is nothing to fear. It's only when it gets out of hand and becomes violent that it becomes scary. And, when that happens, you do not belong there.

So what have we learned? You have a right to speak out when you believe something is wrong. You have a right to PEACEFULLY join with others to protest a wrong. 

Lastly, if you ever feel the need to protest a wrong, talk with your parents. They are there to guide you and keep you safe.

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