|Photo of walkout on Monday, courtesy of Lou Shupe|
Scott Armstrong and Bob Smith are both vocal opponents of the walkout. Scott, who has never shied away from controversy, spoke forcefully against the walkout last week in an essay published by Michael Molovisnky.
Last week, Smith took also exception to a walkout in which students would leave their classrooms to rendezvous at a statue of MLK.
Dr. King would never support students walking out of school, he protested and marched so all students would be able to go to any school they wanted. Dr. King wanted students to go to school not walk out. Shame on adults for organizing this walkout. I ask every Allentown student not to walk out but to help make changes by staying in school, working with teachers and the board together.On Tuesday, Smith also disputed Frassetto's numbers. He said 400 participated on Monday, but that dropped to just 123 on Tuesday. On Monday when students tried to leave the protest, they were told they would be arrested, according to a source at the scene.* That might explain why the numbers dropped so dramatically.
Bob Smith condemned the "hypocrisy of this history teacher [Frassetto], whose 15 minutes of fame is almost up. ... I still would meet with any student, any time, on any issue they have or want to discuss with their parents or not, but not with anybody with this United Youth group.
Frassetto heads up the United Youth Party.
Charlie Thiel echoes Bob Smith and Armstrong. "I oppose the walkout," he made clear. "The outcomes of this walkout do not improve the education of our students."
It was a little harder to pin down Mark Smith, who posted a long and rambling commentary that essentially said nothing. After a rather testy exchange (reproduced it in its entirety here), Mark Smith finally stated, "I am not for the walk out. I feel it is counterproductive on several levels. There are better ways to address this problem. I do however, believe that there are people in our community that think this is the only way they will be heard. And, EVERYONE deserves to be heard."
Audrey Mathison refused to condemn the walkout, and appears to support it.
I believe that the walkout is a symptom of the distrust of the school district felt by some in the community. And I believe that the best way to deal with distrust is to talk openly about it. I would like to see the district sponsor some small group community discussions where individuals will feel welcome to speak freely. Maybe an evening discussion could be sponsored in elementary buildings for the neighborhood’s convenience.So Mathison actually would invite Nate Whips and Frassetto to share their expertise.
And I would like to see the organizers of the walkout promote such discussions.
Elizabeth Martinez failed to respond. Ce-Ce Gerlach, the so-called people's candidate, ignored repeated requests for a statement expressing her actual position.
So there you have it. Four candidates are opposed to the walkout. One candidate appears to support it. Two candidates never bothered to weigh in on this issue.
Addendum (11:21 am): When kids were threatened with arrest for leaving the protest, that threat came from the organizers, not police. They actively misled students even after being assured no arrest would be made.
Updated 5:15 pm - Mathison opposes walkout. - Audrey Mathison has just emailed me to claim, "Evidently—though I read what I wrote several times—I accidentally gave you the wrong idea. It was never my intention to make you think that I support the walkout or condone truancy. And I certainly do not condone adults who advocate cutting class. I hope this clarifies things."