Student demonstrators are to be commended

To the editor:

On behalf of the New Ulm Human Rights Commission, I would like to congratulate and commend the students of New Ulm High School who organized and executed a human chain in an effort to promote unity and commemorate the victims of the Feb. 14 massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Martin Luther King stated the ultimate measure of an individual is not where he/she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he/she stands at times of challenge and controversy. Wherever you stand in the debates that have raged since this incident and since every other senseless massacre over the past few years, one thing is certain; we are in the throes of tremendous challenge and controversy.

Doing nothing is easy; apathy is a well-trodden path. However, these students decided they were going to do something and not sit idly by, even if their actions would be viewed as controversial by some. They did this without promise of reward or praise.

Civic engagement is critical to the development of an informed citizenry and, arguably, an obligation in a democracy. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), young people who have civic education are more likely than others to be able to interpret political information correctly, to discuss political issues with peers and adults, to monitor the news and to feel confident about their ability to speak in public. Additionally, students who have experienced interactive civic education show a better ability to clearly express their opinions, have better collaborative group skills and have a better ability to work in culturally diverse teams.

We should all be proud of these students for standing in unity with the victims of Parkland Florida. Their expressed goal was to make a statement that they are “here for each other” and that “we should be able to feel safe in our school no matter where we are and how old we are.” I think they have achieved that purpose.

The New Ulm Human Rights Commission commends New Ulm High School students Owen Wilkins, Sarah Preisinger, Sarah Longtin, the Student Council, the student body and the School Administration for your showing of solidarity and symbol of solidarity in these tumultuous times.

New Ulm Human Rights Commission

Dan Kalk

Tim Frenning

Larry Czer

Jackie Krehbiel

Wendi Ringhofer

Deanna Fenske

Pr. Diane Hatman

Sue Hunstad

Chad Gentz