The SHS political climate

Photo+Courtesy+of+iStock

Photo Courtesy of iStock

Angeli Thompson, Editor in Chief

Voting has always been a big deal. Doesn’t matter which side of the spectrum you’re leaning more toward, politics seems to be in a lot of conversations nowadays. At SHS there has been more talk about politics throughout the halls and even online. With COVID and the election, 2020 has been an eventful year, especially for teenagers and teachers. 

Bryan Ashkettle, an AP Government and World History teacher at SHS, talked about how teachers have to make a decision whether or not to be open about their political beliefs in the school.

“One big question is to disclose or not to disclose one’s personal leanings,” Ashkettle said. “And I think that it’s really a matter of choice for the teacher. And I’m incredibly fearful of indoctrination, and I don’t want my ideas to be yours. 

“It is really important that if a teacher chooses to disclose their political leanings and their own bias, that they [should] work to foster this open environment were they can question me and question things that I say. We’re all citizens of this country and you don’t have to agree with me but that somehow becomes very problematic.” 

Not agreeing with someone’s political beliefs can cause a lot of tension, not only in SHS but the rest of the country. The disagreeing is also happening online through technology.

According to SHS Sophomore Gurkiran Natt, people have been getting ‘canceled’ on social media for their political beliefs. 

“I definitely think the [political climate] has changed Solon High School,” Natt said. “From an online perspective, if someone has a different viewpoint than [the] majority of the people they get hated on and called out for it on the internet.” 

Since political beliefs are different, people feel the need to call others out for it on the internet in a negative way. Some students in SHS don’t even share their political beliefs because they’re scared of the outcome and what people would say to them. 

Nandana Ahuja, a Senior at SHS, claims there is tension in the school because of all the different beliefs around the world. 

“I definitely think there is a lot of tension, and I think it’s because as you grow up you know more about politics and you have more sound beliefs,” Ahuja said. “So a lot of us are speaking up about the things that we feel are right or wrong. And because there is so much division in the atmosphere of the country, there’s a lot of division at Solon High School.”

Continuing open dialogue about things, including politics, at SHS shouldn’t cause someone to feel unsafe or worried when they enter SHS, or any high school. Junior Rita Brokhman implies how there is so much tension at the school, that people have lost friends over their political beliefs. 

“There has definitely been some division, especially last summer with the Black Lives Matter movement, where if you were on either end of the spectrum, the other end wanted nothing to do with you,” Brokhman said. “I’ve even seen some people say they aren’t friends with other people if they don’t share the same political beliefs.”

That has caused tension in the school and can cause a lot of hostility. If one side has strong beliefs then they won’t associate with someone leaning more towards the other side. 

Senior Angad Dhillon has witnessed some tension in the school for four years. Teacher’s can’t stop much of the tension between students because they don’t really see it in their classrooms because of school being remote.

“I think when it comes to promoting equality on both sides of the political spectrum, the bashing comes from kids doing it inside and outside of school in their social groups and on social media,” Dhillion said. “There’s very little a teacher can do, in terms of classroom instruction, [because] they try to keep things neutral and prevent politics becoming the main point in the classroom.”  

There are other ways of disagreeing with someone’s political standpoint rather than being disrespectful towards them. Ahuja talks about how there needs to be more acceptance in the school. 

“I don’t think stopping talking about politics is the answer. [With] the school seminars, if they can, [they should] eventually progress to learning to accept people despite their beliefs. We need to keep talking about [politics], but we also need to learn how to respect other people’s beliefs.”

Each student interviewed openly shared how SHS has done a great job of keeping things neutral within the school, but more acceptance and seminars to teach students and educate them more on the topic is important for the school.

Whatever side of the spectrum someone is leaning towards, SHS accepts those beliefs and encourages the talk about them if they don’t get too contentious. Growing older, voting becomes apart of your life, and learning how to talk to people about it and share your ideas now is useful for the future. 

 

 

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