I want more controversy in our public schools

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I want more controversy in our public schools

Mrs. O'Sullivan, pictured her classroom.

Mrs. O'Sullivan, pictured her classroom.

Mrs. O'Sullivan, pictured her classroom.

Mrs. O'Sullivan, pictured her classroom.

Genevieve Clark and Genevieve Clark

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“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher, can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Importance of Awareness

With everything from marches to movements happening in the world, it only makes sense that our generation become more aware of the situations that are impacting our lives. It’s typical for fellow high schoolers to find politics and social matters uninteresting. Even our parents might shut out the news to ensure the family dynamic isn’t “awkward” because of different opinions. However, there are too many problems out there that will negatively affect this generation of students.

For example, The #Me Too movement aids in the fight against sexual assault, a topic that students may not know about unless they are invested in social media or they are taught this in school. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted, and every eight minutes, that victim is a child. It is essential for high school girls and boys to realize that they aren’t alone and they should start speaking up against victim shaming and sexual violence.

Another example involves common sense gun control. This has been demanded by high school students across the nation, especially the students from Parkland High School, where a shooting left 17 dead, and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement that have lost their loved ones to gun violence and police brutality.

These are just a few examples of important current events that need the attention of high school students across the nation. Therefore, one question stands, how do we engage students to develop their own mindset?

We bring controversy into the classroom.

Teach the Facts

Teachers have been known to keep their political views a secret. They have become too shy to voice their opinion on important issues such as disputes over gun control, sexual violence, racism, or even environmental concerns. Although, this practice doesn’t apply to every teacher.

Freedom’s AP Language and Composition teacher, Mrs. O’Sullivan, is an example of someone going against the norm. She creates disputable bell work questions for students to discuss amongst one another.

In the wake of the recent movement, #MeToo, Mrs. O’ Sullivan has asked her students how often they get harassed or even cat called down the street. She would ask the boys first and then the girls for everyone to notice the obvious differences where boys are still violated, but not as often as the girls.

Due to recent school shootings, Mrs. O’Sullivan had also placed the second amendment on the board and asked her students what it means to them and whether it should be changed.

Mrs. O’Sullivan stated, “Asking these questions isn’t important to me but for them. They need to be able to create these thoughts and be more aware of the world around them.”

The Capability of Students

For the most part, many other public-school teachers have not taught students how to engage in reasoned, informed debates across society’s differences.

Why not teach students how to appropriately and respectfully disagree? Why not work to give our generation a voice? Why continue avoiding the uncomfortable discussions when you can embrace the diverse thoughts of your children?

High school students are capable of anything. Whether it’s using their social media platforms to send out important messages or write about their opinions for their school newspaper.

After spending my junior year in Mrs. O’Sullivan’s class, I can guarantee that I learned more than how to write an essay in under an hour.

I feel that other high school students should learn how to question the society we live in and recognize their privileges that many other people do not have.

We all need to start caring about other people’s issues and develop our own political and moral standpoints.

But most importantly, we must learn about the problems that affect us, and know how to do something about it. In fact, students should also to register to vote so their vote will make a difference.

I believe that every school across the country deserves more teachers like Mrs. O’Sullivan, that teach more than what the curriculum demands.

By allowing teachers to voice their opinion, students will learn to speak up as well.

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