Ted Cruz, candidate for the Republican nomination for president, had been invited to speak at the Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy in New York City on April 6, 2016.
A group of students decided that a protest was in order. They wrote a letter to their principal explaining their concerns and their decision to walk out of school should Cruz speak there.
In part the letter said:
We respect you and all the staff at BLCPA as well as the expected guests. But we want you to understand that as passionate students, we have ideas and principles that should be heard and respected. This walk out isn't a reflection of our discontent with BLCPA but our opportunity to stand up for our community and future. This walk out is taking place because we as students all share a common idea.
The presence of Ted Cruz and the ideas he stands for are offensive. His views are against ours and are actively working to harm us, our community, and the people we love. He is misogynistic, homophobic, and racist...
16-year-old sophomore Destiny Domenck explained that "Most of us are immigrants or come from immigrant backgrounds. Ted Cruz goes against everything our school stands for."
The principal (and the CEO of the charter school) commended the students for standing up for their beliefs and the visit was cancelled.
Ask students: What have you read or heard about Senator Cruz’s stances on the issues?
Ask student volunteers to read the following.
Where does Ted Cruz stand on the issues?
- Cruz is a right-wing Republican who argues that the country would be stronger if we had a smaller government, lower taxes, and fewer regulations on corporations.
- Cruz believes that government services to people in need should be cut drastically or eliminated altogether. He opposes food stamps (SNAP), housing subsidies, Obamacare, and the Legal Services Corporation, which provides free lawyers for people who have been accused of a crime but can’t afford to pay for legal representation.
- Cruz thinks education policies should mainly be set by states and has proposed eliminating the federal Department of Education.
- Cruz proposes a new federal tax system that would have everyone pay the same rate, except the very poor, who would pay no tax (as now). This would dramatically diminish government revenues and greatly reduce taxes for the rich.
- Cruz proposes to raise the age at which senior citizens could receive Social Security benefits, reduce the Social Security's cost-of-living increases, and divert a portion of benefits that are now guaranteed into volatile private stock market accounts.
- Cruz has called for defending "Judeo-Christian values."
- Cruz has proposed that U.S. law enforcement should "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." He added that the U.S. can no longer afford "political correctness."
- Cruz has said he would use air strikes against the Islamic State. He said: "We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don't know if sand can glow in the dark, but we're going to find out." To carpet bomb means to strike an area indiscriminately, without targeting.
- Cruz opposes the "path to citizenship" for undocumented immigrants—including "Dreamers," immigrants who have been in the U.S. since they were children.
- Cruz has called for tripling the size of the Border Patrol and building a "fence that works" on the Mexican border.
- Cruz strongly supports stricter limits on abortion.
- Cruz opposed renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which provides money for investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women. He argued that this is an issue that states should decide on individually.
- Cruz opposes same-sex marriage and legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
- Cruz supports "religious exemptions" to laws that prohibit discrimination against lesbians and gays, and has criticized fellow Republicans for participating in Pride marches.
- What impact would Cruz’s policies have on students in your school and families in your community? Specifically, what impact might they have on:
- Immigrants, either documented or undocumented
- People who aren’t Christian or Jewish
- LGBT people
- People with low-paying jobs or who are unemployed
- Older workers and retirees
- Very wealthy people
- Imagine that Ted Cruz was invited to come speak at your school. What would you do? Why?
- If Cruz had come to the Bronx school to speak, could it have offered students a better opportunity to express their opposition and have an impact?
- Is "disinviting" Cruz a violation of his right to free speech?
- Is there a difference between shouting a speaker down and asking your school to rescind its invitation to a speaker?
- Is a student walkout also an exercise of free speech?
- Can speech be so offensive to people that it amounts to "hate speech" and should exempted from free speech rights?
- Is there a difference between denying speech to someone who has easy access to all public media and denying it to someone who has access to none?