Politics in the classroom

Mara Fendrich, Journalism Student

 Walking through the halls of LHS, one might notice a strange pattern. Approximately half the doors are marked as a safe space, or somewhere where students are protected from discrimination and harassment. It shouldn’t be a political statement, right? Well, it may cause more tension than originally anticipated.

    Generation Z, the generation currently in school, has lately been exercising their political rights. Following the events of the Parkland shooting, schools have become a place of political tension and protest. Even LHS held a gathering to honor the lives lost, but without making a statement on gun control in order to avoid conflict.

    According to a student poll in the October Statesman issue, the majority of students are democratic and in support of LGBT. It is arguable just how political LGBT is, since it is meant to be a community of acceptance for marginalized individuals, but since it deals with social issues and is not something that everyone can agree on, there’s a slightly blurred line of how much is too much to say.

    Teachers are also put in a slightly uncomfortable position in the classroom. They are meant to keep their personal opinions out of classroom discussions, but with some of the subject material within subjects such as language arts, debates over social issues are unavoidable.

    In Shawn Bogart’s accelerated English I class, there has been a lot of talk on human rights and moral issues. When Odysseus raped Circe in the Odyssey, the classroom was filled with debate of what the situation was and the problems it caused. In “Of Mice and Men,” the problems a modern day reader sees with John Steinbeck’s portrayal of racism and disability, as well as other moral issues, has created much discussion within the classroom.

    Politics have also slipped into classes such as world geo, where debates over North Korea, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, child marriage in India, population issues, global warming, the Trump investigation and more have been discussed in class.

    In order to alleviate the tension in school, both the students and teachers must decide what is considered political and what should not be. With the rest of the world being as tense as it is, everyone deserves a break and an opportunity to learn without these debates taking over their classroom.