He wasn’t participating in the walkout. That’s the official line from those supporting the walkout, including the New York Times.
The problem is that they’re lying. He was, in fact, participating in the walkout. What 11-year old Jonathan Benko was not doing is participating in the anti-gun protest. He merely took advantage of the fact that all of the other students were walking out, with no punishment, and decided to cross the highway to a nearby park, instead.
He didn’t make it. A truck driver struck Benko and killed him.
Jonathan Benko sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a vehicle on Loop 375. Police said Benko was among a group of students who left the designated walkout area during the walkout that marked 19 years since the Columbine shooting.
It is understood that there are greater dangers to a child outside of a school than in it. That’s the reason why permission slips need to be signed off by parents and guardians before young children leave school grounds during the day. It is also understood that it is difficult to maintain proper supervision of children when they are not organized within a set of boundaries. That is the reason why, when there are fire drills, children are instructed to walk out in single file and amass at specific areas designated for each classroom.
Letting children walk out of school to go, without coordination and constant supervision, to a designated “walkout area” was a complete abrogation of the responsibility given to the teachers and administration of the school.
In Kentucky, Matt Bevin was attacked for saying: (from CNN)
“I guarantee you somewhere in Kentucky today a child was sexually assaulted that was left at home because there was nobody there to watch them,”
He was then assailed in the national press and from his political opponents about his assertion until he apologized.
From the Washington Post:
“The words that people say can have unintended consequences,” Bevin says in the video. “I apologize for those who have been hurt by the things that were said … it was not my intent.”
He should have apologized. He could not guarantee that there was a child who had been sexually assaulted. He could only suspect it, and point out the likelihood that at least one child left unsupervised for much of the day would be easy prey for a victimizer.
Now, however, if he claims that encouraging children who do not have the experience to gauge relative dangers to move around unsupervised during the day will cause injury or death, he has an example at hand.
Cold comfort, I’m certain, for the grieving family of a young boy.