The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

The Student Newspaper of Jackson-Reed High School

The Beacon

Please help us cover our annual operations cost!

Discussions of politics have a place in schools

Censorship is a fragile and regressive line to pass. History has taught us through the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, and COVID-19, that our governments and administrations unhesitatingly failed us, caring primarily about lessening ‘political hysteria’ hence discarding the power of knowledge. Through the suppression of our voices: our grandparents, parents, friends, peers, and ourselves, we’ve been stripped of the truth and our exposure to it. Have we not continuously shown our administrations that our advocating and its subsequent social progression fall in the favor of human rights? 

The 14th Amendment, 19th Amendment, and Civil Rights Act of 1964 prove that without the advocacy of many, and their dedication to knowing the truth, many would still lack rights. Education has played a crucial role in directing how the public felt on issues. The lack of the aforementioned political mobilization and transparency is the problem we now face at Jackson-Reed. 

Do we want to remain a school that is praised for its open discourse by maintaining political and religious beliefs as a priority for proactive conversation?  Or will we look back and remember Jackson-Reed as the educational obstacle in the face of progression? Many may argue that I have discarded the factors that truly form our political socialization as young adults, such as family, friends and community. Yet, the reality is that the institution you attend every day, ten months a year, for four years, has an impact on how you think— that is irrevocable.
If I am to be a somewhat educated adult by the time I exit this institution, I deserve to be exposed to the realities that face the real world— a reality that our administration supposedly “prepares us” for. An obstacle in the form of censorship may be the leading cause for our potential ignorance when facing the real world— if so, may it underscore the failure in a school’s quintessential goal; to teach. 

The Israel-Gaza War is ripe with opinions, perspectives, and objections, yet in the face of peaceful discourse, they remain valid. Does this mean I agree with certain views? No. But does it mean that I shouldn’t be exposed to them? Absolutely not. The Arab Student Union’s decision to present a documentary in order to start conversations about the current conflict is within their rights as students. Our administration may justify their censorship with reasons like the documentary being part of an ‘unapproved resource list’ but they must remain aware that by doing this they strip voices away from minorities.While arguing for either side, it is no business of an administration to suppress a student union, even if the true intention that our administration holds is to not “offend” anyone.  

Those feelings that people state as “offended” can be directed to fuel proper education: the administration can use students’ anger to teach them how to articulately express their points of view and promote passion instead of hate. We will see much less division as soon as people are free to share their perspectives, but an administration’s absence or infringement in that learning process is nothing short of bureaucratic laziness and moral cowardice, a seemingly recurring theme in America today.

With the 2024 Presidential election approaching, questions concerning a subverting democracy and the legitimate qualifications of a leader take the hot seat. The graduating class will partake in this historical event— a decision we should consider as a reflection of what our lived experiences have taught us. 

It is a time when schools must take precedence in expanding our perspective outside of our community, something many of us have already started doing. However, it’s more importantly, the responsibility of educational institutions, especially public ones, to allow those who don’t have access to opposing viewpoints outside their homes, a place that provides ideological freedom and factional diversity. Maybe then we will be more unified in not only how we vote but how we coexist. This is a rule that I hope all schools can follow, but Jackson-Reed High School is an institution that must follow it. 

As a student, I can understand the hesitation, we all can— but both students and staff should also understand that to live in discomfort means change is in progress. It is up to us to decide which side of history we want to fall on, but please give us the tools to make that informed decision on our own. 

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Beacon

Please help us cover our annual operations cost! Donations over $35 dollars are eligible to be added to our subscriber newsletter, which provides special insights into The Beacon's production cycle and regular updates from our staff!

More to Discover
Donate to The Beacon

Comments (1)

Keep comments respectful and on-topic. Hate speech, profanity, and sharing personal information will not be tolerated.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • E

    Eduardo CanedoMar 20, 2024 at 8:50 pm

    You are the righteous voice of your generation (some might say La Voz). You are absolutely right that open discourse and education is the only way to understanding and reconciliation. We must always confront injustice, demand to be heard, and listen with compassion. I am so proud to be your teacher.