As I pulled into the front parking lot of Bel Air High School about 7 a.m. on Thursday, two men caught my eye. They were standing on the corner adjacent to the entrance to the school parking lot on Kenmore Avenue. Friday morning, the men were back, this time standing on the corner of Kenmore Avenue and Bobcat Drive.
The men were holding up large signs in protest against abortion. Pro-life supporters have often been seen before around the town of Bel Air. They hold up signs displaying text and images opposing abortion. The images are gruesome photographs of unborn, blood-covered fetuses — quite the eye-grabber — so I guess they were successful in that aspect of the protest.
I feel that this protesting is not appropriate in a school environment. I do understand that, technically, they were not on school property, so this was a legal protest. But that doesn't make it right. Pro-life supporters who feel the need to hold up disturbing photographs in front of a high school setting are not helping their cause but are instead giving it a bad name.
I do not support abortion, but I definitely do not support men holding up signs with these types of images as I pull in to school in the morning. Young people should not be obliged to see those types of images. Don't try to tell me that "we don't have to look," because these guys were pretty hard to miss.
Several students whom I spoke to at school were angered by the photos. We are coming to school to get an education, not have our political views influenced or judged by outside parties or groups.
The Bel Air High School principal, Gregory Komondor, was quick to address the issue on the morning announcements. He reassured students that these men had no affiliation with Bel Air High School or the county school system.
It is my understanding that these men have had their protest permits suspended in the past.
Clearly, the men wanted to make a statement to young people. They wanted to get people talking. Sure, it worked. But, there are definitely more appropriate ways to do this. Going to such an extreme just makes them look pathetic.
Maddie Walz is a junior at Bel Air High School. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.