This past Sunday, Melissa Sargent, Dane County Board supervisor, and her husband, Justin, brought their family to the capitol in Madison to protest. There two sons, Devin, 13, and Bailey, 11, along with their family, were on the second floor of the Rotunda with a sign they made that read, "Solidarity Forever." This, however, is against the "administrative code" set up by Walker's administration, for it only allows protests to happen in designated places on the first floor of the Rotunda. State Capitol Police Officer, James Brooks, has to enforce this "code," and subsequently had to give a citation to Melissa, due to the fact that her two sons held up the sign in the prohibited area. The citation has a price tag of $205.
Their father, Justin, who is the chief of staff to Democratic state Senator Chris Larson, on the YouTube clip is quoted as saying, "I believe the Constitution trumps the administrative code."
The Capital Times reports that, "Melissa Sargent said she and her husband did not post any videos on YouTube and do not know who posted the first one, which had appeared by Sunday afternoon. She says that since the videos have surfaced she has received hate emails from people accusing her of using her kids and being an unfit mother." Sargent then went on to say, "They may be 13 and 11 but they're smart guys. There have been a lot of kids who have changed society and I'm pretty proud of my guys. Just because they're not old enough to vote doesn't mean they're not old enough to form an educated opinion."
It is saddening that anyone would send their family hate email or call her "unfit," for the stand their entire family took is more than admirable. Her family is truly inspirational and should be applauded for their actions. Too many people throughout our country, and even throughout the world, sit back and don't stand up for what they know is right, and they had the courage to take that stand. The ideals and life lessons she taught her sons that idle Sunday in Madison will forever be with them, and hopefully others will learn, as well.
One man's "administrative code," like their father Justin said, should never trump the Constitution, and if they hadn't challenged the code it could still be a means to silence the protesters.
Bravery and courage have no age requirements, and one has to commend Devin and Bailey for their actions and poise in a very stressful situation. The values that Justin and Melissa are instilling in their sons are the characteristics this country needs for the betterment of the future. They are far from "unfit" parents. They are excellent parents.
Sargent's Facebook states, "A plea of NOT GUILTY was entered today on my behalf. I will NOT be in Court April 8 for myself but will attend to support others. I will receive a pre-trial conference date with the Dane County DA's office in a number of weeks."