That said, I want to touch on something that upset me greatly at the meeting and has been on my mind since. As many of you are aware, large groups of students from all over San Diego attended the meeting to show their support for conservation. Over the past several months these students have done their own research, created projects, and worked tirelessly to prepare to present their views on the importance of marine protected areas to the commission. I know because I was with them every step of the way.
Due to time constraints and the volume of public comment many students did not have the opportunity to speak. This is regrettable but understandable.
What is entirely unacceptable, absolutely appalling, and the cause of a very unhealthy spike in my blood pressure, is the insinuation by some members of the opposition that these students were somehow deceived, manipulated or coerced into attendance. How disrespectful! How wrong! How completely offensive to young people doing everything they can to defend their right to live in a community that values their views and protects the environment that belongs to them! (Check out this article in the North County Times in which one of the students gives her response.)
How insulting to teachers who have made a proud career of encouraging the future of our state to learn and grow and think for themselves! Incorporating environmental protection into a curriculum is not coercion! It is a testament to their passion for their students and the health of their community!
Instead I have a favor to ask of you: Please show your support for the students who put themselves on the line to defend something precious to us all. Please comment here, or email me at [email protected] and I will be more than happy to pass your messages along. These brave people put a huge collective effort into doing something great, and it is critical that they feel our appreciation!