Julia went to school today and wanted to share about her experience. She is a freshman in her high school.
Today was a day without shoes. It was a day to raise the awareness of children in third world countries who go without shoes everyday. This day was put on by Tom Shoes, a for profit company that sends a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair of shoes you buy from them.
I went to school without shoes on today to show others and myself what these children go through every day. I felt discomfort, my feet were cold, and numb, I stepped in gum, I walked through rain and hail, I stepped in syrup, I even used the school bathroom. By my third period class, the bottom of my feet had a green tint to them. I learned about the pain that kids go through everyday.
But I am not writing to complain about my feet hurting or getting sticky. I want to tell you about my schools response. I had a friend talk to my principal about going without shoes for one day, he said that it was fine as long as we wore them during passing time, and in science class. I respect this because the school does not want broken toes or burning chemicals on our feet, they don’t want legal issues. But that morning, the dean of students sent out an email to all of the teachers saying that students must wear shoes at all times, this was different from what the principal had told us, causing confusion. Many students didn’t wear shoes any way, except in passing time and in science class. Including me.
When teachers asked me to put shoes on, I just pulled my flip flops out of my backpack and put them on. I didn’t want to make trouble, that wasn’t the point. Many teachers took, a day without shoes, as a way to rebel. They treated us like we were disobeying some unwritten rule. It was not a rebellious thing, I wanted to help the cause. I didn’t want to cause a scene or make trouble for anyone.Then, students began taking it as a way to rebel, saying things like “stick it to the man”. Many students got in fights with security guards over it, some got in arguments with teachers, and it soon became just as the teachers thought, a way to rebel.
Right now, “cause oriented things” are a fad. Like wearing a “To Write Love On Her Arms” shirt, or wearing Toms shoes, but as participants, we shouldn’t make it a way to rebel against authority, we should do it because we want to help the cause in anyway we can. Today I learned that supporting a cause, whether it be about a war, genocide, suicide, or children who don’t have shoes, can be easily misunderstood, we shouldn’t participate just to “stick it to the man”, we should do it because we believe in the cause.
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