Written by Cole Williams
In today’s world, politics are all around us. From our phones and social media to the nation’s news in the evenings, politics is everywhere. As high schoolers, they affect us more than ever. Everybody at Metea and in our country has an opinion. Thanks to the Bill of Rights, we get to speak them. However, when does speaking our mind pass into forcing ideas down other’s throats, What are the right places to express our views and when? Furthermore, do our classes meet those criteria?
With today’s society, everyone needs to be careful to not step on anyone else’s toes or a single word could offend a whole group. A debate can turn into a fight with a single phrase or an assumption could have negative consequences. With the large separation of views and political opinions that differ among students and staff, freedom of speech and student rights are kind of in a gray area.
To make it even more difficult, the school district does very little to explain the borders of the regulations. Even in the school handbook, the dress code has no limits on political apparel. There is also no section on freedom of speech and what is considered acceptable on school grounds. With no set guidelines, students are left to read between the lines, with many different interpretations. So, the big question is: as students, what are we allowed to do? And more importantly, what are we not allowed to do?
Students should have the right to speak their mind, as long as they don’t step over the line. We need to think before we speak, because what offends one person might be normal for another. Teachers should be there not only to monitor the students, but also to join in. The staff has the right to speak their mind and partake in discussions, or explain their views. It is a two-way relationship, and one group shouldn’t take complete advantage of that. The school needs to set guidelines and enforce them. The district should make it clear for everyone on what the expectations are. While the government’s role isn’t required until there is a removal of rights, some finer definitions wouldn’t be unwarranted. Overall, from everyone in the district to the government to the students themselves, all parties have a role to play.
So what do you think? Should students have full access to do and say what they want? What about accountability? Should it be up to each individual staff member? Do teachers need to express their party so that their students don’t say the wrong thing? No matter what the outcome, what is important is to find a balance with not just debate, but also respect.