Dec. 3, 2020
Students Published in the NY Times
Two EAR students in Ashley’s English class, 10th graders Maria Quidute and Maria Luiza Bivar, were chosen by the NY Times this week for their responses regarding if teachers should be allowed to wear political symbols. The paper shortened Maria Luiza's response, so here is her full response:
“Overlapping voices catch one's attention when listening to political debates, words spilling from left to right. Such discussions can be useful when listeners widen their beliefs by learning; however, political symbols and opinions, if wielded right, can become harmful weapons of propaganda. Although freedom of speech was always tightly guarded under American law, controversies regarding its restrictions have always been present even in different situations. The main issue regarding the subject is when one can determine if speech became hate and expression became harmful. Educationally speaking, professors should never push their beliefs onto students since their role is to guide and not influence; nonetheless, that doesn't mean they must never reveal their political views. My opinion is stained by my hypocrisy, as I would find it acceptable for a teacher to wear a BLM shirt but not an ALM one since, from my perspective, it only serves to spread hate. However, what I stated was my opinion, and different people find different things harmful. Because this discussion can't reach a conclusion, it is best to follow the policy that many districts already do: school employees can display their political symbols outside of the schools. Regardless of whether political symbols are allowed or not, teachers should engage in debates on political topics in class; thus, educators guide the students to their conclusions while giving them the liberty to express themselves without influence.”
Maria Quidute completes:
"Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system," said Sidney Hook. Widely known as nonbiologic parents, educators assist in the growth and formation of those they teach. Their appraisals and teachings go far beyond the textbooks; they follow our steps into adulthood. However, it has been frequent debate as to whether teachers should display their personal beliefs in the educational environments where they are prone to influence young minds. Frequently, our societies have been finding it difficult to accept opposing views to their own, and I gather that the equivalent has been occurring in learning facilities. Voices have become repressed and quiet due to the fear of the new disgusting "canceling culture." Among those voices, professors choose to neglect their beliefs to maintain their classes' respect and praise. Furthermore, teachers should be allowed to wear political symbols as long as they do not force pupils to do the same. We often portray them as robots and not people who need and deserve their freedom of speech, which by law is obligatory. Students should learn from a young age how to handle adversity and have conversations with those who do not share their opinions. Growth comes from provocation and challenges; if we do not crave to listen to others and their beliefs, negligence, and ignorance will flood our societies. By so, we will perpetually remain the same.
Congratulations to Ashley and her students!