The Capitol Behind Bars / Photo by Chris O'Neil

There was an interesting story that went under reported last week, a Connecticut high school was offering candy to students if they signed a gun control petition. This of course is not ok, but the signatures on the petition theoretically would not have counted any way because those signing the petition were under the age of 18. So why is this a story you should be paying more attention to? Let me explain. 

The original story was about a “See Something, Say Something” week going on in a high school, this week contained activities for students to participate in as well as extra lessons for students to take about a variety of topics that fall under the theme of “See Something, Say Something.” This theme was about knowing the signs of gun violence as described on a handout.

The petition students were asked to sign was about raising awareness of the importance of universal background checks in all states. Students were explicitly told that by signing the petition they would be entitled to a free piece of candy.

This of course is a major red flag, but some were not alarmed because the students signatures didn’t really count because they were not of legal voting age. 

The reason this is so concerning is because it would appear that whoever was running this program, and the school by extension, is grooming young people into being political activists. Not just political activists though, ones that do not particularly look into or examine what they petition they are signing or what cause they are getting behind. 

Many Americans know the feeling of getting ambushed at a grocery store or supermarket by someone looking to collect signatures for a petition of some sort, many just ignore them and walk away while others sign the dotted line to end any conversation. 

Young people are easy targets, especially those young people who are still in high school. Some kid moving on to 5th period would probably be happy to sign a petition so long as it means they get a snack before class. Those students that are signing the petition are not ever going to hear another side to the argument, they are being coerced into picking a side in a fight they know very little, if anything, about.  

This should be deeply concerning to parents and voters across the country, but it should also come as no surprise. Public schools across the country have allowed this sort of thing to go on for years. Schools will routinely wheel out “non-partisan” groups to sign teenagers up to vote if they are of the legal age to do so, it is surprisingly common. These “non-partisan” groups are usually founded by political action committees or major “voting rights” organizations that have a clear political agenda upon any degree of examination. 

It is not just school curriculum and rogue teachers looking to groom American youth for political gain, the institutions play a role in doing so as well.

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