Bemidji schools chief cancels planned school violence protest

A call in Bemidji, Minn., to join a planned nationwide protest over school shootings did not survive a school superintendent’s review, the Bemidji Pioneer reports today.

English teacher Gina Marie Bernard had called for the march to coincide with events across the country next month.

That’s now been canceled and a Facebook page has been taken down.

“We certainly agree on the need to address gun violence and school safety,” Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Jim Hess tells the paper. “However, this does not give anyone the right to disrupt the educational setting. We do not support any type of disruption to a student’s education.”

He said educators might talk to students about violence, or the kids can meet at the flagpole after school.

“You can be from the farthest right to the farthest left, you should be able to come outside for 17 minutes and just honor those lives and be able to take the stand that guns have no place in our schools,” Bernard, who says she’s a gun owner, had told the Pioneer earlier this week.

  • rallysocks

    >>“However, this does not give anyone the right to disrupt the educational setting. We do not support any type of disruption to a student’s education.”<<

    I don't know…there are other things that disrupt students' education. Pep rallies come to mind. And what an opportunity to civics to our kids.

  • BJ

    >>“We certainly agree on the need to address gun violence and school safety,” Bemidji Area Schools Superintendent Jim Hess tells the paper. “However, this does not give anyone the right to disrupt the educational setting. We do not support any type of disruption to a student’s education.”

    The killing of 17+ of their peers will disrupt them a bit.

  • BReynolds33

    I don’t think the Superintendent realizes how protests work.

    I hope the students go ahead with it anyway. No need to ask permission to make their voices heard.

    • Jerry

      Just like it is very important to get management’s permission before you call a strike.

      • Kassie

        Ummm, so you think I shouldn’t of reached out to management before yesterday’s MAPE union rally? I mean, sometimes we live in a weird world where management shows up at your union rally, or at least I do… I imagine those children are mostly living in a world where their teachers and principals completely agree with what they are protesting about. Except for one waste of space superintendent.

        • Sybil Twilight

          Most of the teachers and principals maybe; those just trying to make their high 5 don’t want to rock the boat, and those who think that the emotional left just want to grab all their guns are busy using work based email to forward pro gun memes.

  • Gary F

    Will they discuss how the FBI didn’t follow through? Or that the police had 39 visits to his residence? Why didn’t these end up on the NICS database?

    • Sybil Twilight

      I hope they’ll discuss “Probable Cause.” So far I haven’t seen a real reason to deny the sale of a firearm to Cruz. No arrest or conviction, no adjudication of mental defect or involuntary commitment, etc.; in short no real reason for him to show up on the NICS database.

      • Lindsey

        The only evidence we have is hindsight, which, as always, is 20/20.

        • Sybil Twilight

          So maybe a more effective response would be to limit magazine size, increase waiting period, restrict purchase.

    • Sybil Twilight

      I’m also getting irritated at the number of people pulling the blame the FBI, or the police or the NICS database line who have vocally questioned any accusation of sexual assault or harassment as “He said/She said” or resulting repercussions as “Not following Due Process.”

      • Alberto Sappwood

        Why shouldn’t we blame the FBI? They appear to have failed to follow-up on the credible threat Cruz posted on YouTube.

        • RBHolb

          That was the point. The threat was dismissed as “not credible.”

          • Alberto Sappwood

            No. The FBI’s excuse was that they weren’t able to identify who made the video even though Cruz posted it under his name.

          • RBHolb

            My mistake.

    • Ralphy

      The FBI call center employee erred. Pretty bold stroke to condemn the entire FBI. You do understand that this was not under the FBI’s authority- that the jurisdictional responsibility was with the local police? Do you also understand that no laws had been broken at that point?
      How many “tips” does the FBI get every day? Does the FBI have enough resources to follow up on every single tip? Or do they need to make a judgement call as to which are actionable?
      Your database criticism is laughable. The NRA has fought tooth and nail against any and every attempt to implement a shared national database.
      Couldn’t be that it is simply too damn easy to legally purchase a weapon and copious amounts of ammunition. That couldn’t possibly be part of the problem, could it?

    • RBHolb

      They will get to that, right after the discussion on the uses of deflection in a debate.

    • Are you sure you’re commenting on the right article?

    • Jerry

      Which is why I think no private citizen should have access to high capacity combat rifles.

    • Jay T. Berken

      Which mass shooting are you talking about Gary?

  • Al

    Yeah, good luck with that, guy. Something tells me the kids will do what they do. And that will be just fine.

  • >>“We do not support any type of disruption to a student’s education.”<<

    This guy has a pretty narrow view of "education."

    /They should just call it a "field trip" and go through with it.

    • The best teachers know that life offers many opportunities for learning. Jim apparently isn’t one of them, though he can probably make sure the budget is balanced and the school clocks run on time.

      • 1) I just wrote that Superintendent an email basically stating what i said above.

        2) He’s retiring after this year.

        3) School Admins are generally what is wrong with school systems. i worked for over 8 years in a large Metro area public school district and saw first-hand the idiocy and waste of the administration.

        • KariBemidji

          He said he’s retiring (at least from our district). Last week, it was announced that he is in the top three for the Grand Forks superintendent position.

        • Four years teaching HS for me, and yes, you are right.

          • I had contact with most of the teachers in the 18 or so buildings in my District and found that the vast majority of them just wanted to teach.

            The Admins, on the other hand, were more concerned with office politics, in-fighting, and CYA.

            i just shook my head.

    • AmiSchwab

      keep em reigned in and dumb and everybody be happy.

    • Rob

      There’s a surprise.

  • AmiSchwab

    “disrupt the educational setting” the man says. and a school shooting is not a disruption any more?

  • Ralphy

    From USA Today, 2/20/2018:
    – Since Jan. 1, firearms have been used to kill 2,073 people in the U.S. and wound 3,551, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that tracks incidents of gun violence from media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources.

    I, for one, think this is an epidemic, a national crisis and a largely self-inflicted tragedy.

    • Frank

      And how many gun deaths are suicide? How many justifiable homicide?

      And when you’re done there, do deaths due to auto accidents, or falling in the bathtub.

      See, that’s the problem the left has with the statisics of this issue. The cross tabs put the kibosh on ill conceived, illogical arguments every time.

      So, of course, it’s time to parade some kids around for the 5:00 network news propaganda session.

      • We should definitely have more research to answer these very good questions of the health risk of guns. But, of course, Congress barred the CDC from researching such an important question.

      • kevins

        The gun homicide/suicide stats stand on their own. Adding other morality stats does not invalidate the former, nor arguments that derive from that. Gun lobby spokespeople like you are the only voices that assert that auto deaths have relevance to gun deaths, and is a tired, alogical and manipulative argument. Lay out the degrading comments about the high schoolers who are speaking their minds because you clearly got the tactical memo from the right. I believe however that many are proud of these young people. As future voters, they do represent quite a threat to you.

        • Frank

          So, you’re saying all the people killed and wounded in Ralphy’s comment were victims of murder. I’d like to see that cited if you don’t mind (by the FBI; not the “Gun Violence Archive” thankyouverymuch).

          The only threat those kids represent is to truth; and it’s not their fault. Knowing no better at their age they too often take what they’re told at face value. Many will learn better, though some won’t.

          • kevins

            If you read my post, you would know what I am and am not saying, so quit being manipulative.

            Regarding the young activists, you comment is condescending Frank. You are out of touch with young people, and at your own peril. Sad.

            I’m not even sure what your first point is..objective mortality statistics are readily available through several federal agencies (bath tub accidents included). Really Frank, keep your ARs. Stockpile lots of ammo. Go hunting with them and take along a bunch of like minded cohorts. Enjoy the time shooting at things.

          • Frank

            Thanks, but I don’t need your permission to keep any AR’s, or any other legal weapon I might or might not have, or any amount of ammunition I might want, any more than you need mine to vote.

            You said, and I quote:
            “The gun homicide/suicide stats stand on their own.” OK. Where?

            You’re right about bathtub stats. They overwhelm firearm related stats; that’s my point.



  • AL287

    I am encouraged that these teens, soon to be adults (with voting rights) have forced the gun-obsessed Republicans to listen to them including our infamous POTUS who idiotically suggested arming teachers.

    Like I want my grandson attending school with every teacher locked and loaded.

    Definitely an environment conducive to learning.

    That alone has to be the dumbest and most preposterous thing the man has said since he took office and we have lots to choose from the Twitter moron.

    Keep right on disrupting kids. Your Baby Boomer grandparents are behind you 100%.

    Take it from those in the know, a 3-day suspension is nothing compared to being fire hosed, tear gassed, and billy clubbed.

  • Frank

    Someone should explain how the US Constitution works to these kids.

    Their state can put restrictions in place for the excersized of rights, as some have for weapons and abortions. And that is the way it does, and should work.

    The federal government has no place in this debate.

    BTW. For those hoping for a ban on AR platform rifles; not gonna happen. Since the last ban, SCOTUS has ruled that weapons “in common use” are protected. The AR platform is probably one of the most commonly used rifles in the country.

    • I heard one recommend amending the Constitution, so it sounds like they had a good civics teacher. Better than the majority of Americans, nearly two thirds of whom can’t name the three branches of government, and a third of whom can’t name a single right enshrined in the Constitution.

      Maybe a good Constitutional debate will be good for all of us.

      • Frank

        I think the all the Dems should add to their platform, and impose a “Abolish the 2nd amendment” litmus test for their candidates.

        Let’s make it a robust debate. Let’s do it today.