Stanley Kurtz writes at National Review Online about a disturbing trend within American public schools.

The spread of high-school walkouts as vehicles of anti-Israel protest alerts us to a problem of national scope. K–12 students have every right to wear T-shirts or armbands in support of political causes. They do not, however, have the right to walk out of class. If students want to march in protest, they should do so on their own time, not during school. Unfortunately, a growing number of school districts allow and even encourage mass student walkouts for political causes. It’s all part of a shift toward “action civics,” the idea that stoking student protest on school time (or after school for credit) is an essential component of civic education.

Student political walkouts as “civics” are a bad idea. Excusing students from school for the sake of protest forces schools to favor some political causes over others. Walkouts also subject a captive audience of minors to political pressures from teachers, peers, and outside groups. And mass walkouts leave students who hold back from popular causes feeling left out or attacked. In the worst case, students become political pawns in adult battles. Under the guise of “civics,” students are manipulated into joining competing political armies.

We can see all this in the recent high-school walkouts over the war in Gaza. …

… Last week, putting theory into practice, hundreds of Chicago high-school students walked out of classes for marches and sit-ins in protest of Israel’s war on the terror group Hamas. After protesting at school, many students marched to “Gaza solidarity encampments” at DePaul University and the University of Chicago. The high-school walkouts were organized by Chicago Youth for Justice, “an abolitionist, anti-imperialist network of students” hailing from more than 25 Chicagoland high schools. (Contemporary “abolitionism” generally seeks to abolish police, prisons, and the military.) As Haley Strack pointed out in her coverage of these walkouts for NRO, organizers were able to tell students, “There is no penalty for coming and you will get your [school] attendance as well!!”