OPINION: Student Voices

Montpelier High School Social Studies Teacher Heather McLane assigned her students to write paragraphs sharing their opinion about an issue that they have studied, support their opinion with a bit of evidence and include a call to action. Below are some of the results.

 

Sexual Violence

by Isabel Maine-Torres

What does it mean to be a feminist? In today’s culture the definition of the word has been thrown around. The debate about whether the term means that women are superior to men is one that stops many from identifying as a feminist. In truth, being a feminist just means you support the social, economic and political balance of the two sexes. With women’s rights now at threat more than ever before, and the idea of rape culture proving true, it’s important to realize the risks of being a woman in today’s world, and to understand what you can do to help. One of the biggest threats to women is the possibility of Roe v. Wade (a 1973 law that provided abortion to all women in any of the 50 states) being overturned. Although Trump hasn’t directly addressed the issue of Roe v. Wade, he has made promises to defund programs like Planned Parenthood. These organizations offer a safe place for women and men, provide sex education services and resources, supply affordable reproductive healthcare and provide abortions.

 

by Lillian Winters

Though rape culture isn’t as prevalent in Montpelier High School as it once was, it creeps through halls in sly whispers and comments — taken as compliments, but meant to demean. A male peer will make a comment on my appearance (like he has any right to my body), or say something provocative about “what he’d do to me,” thinking it won’t get back to me. Though these comments may not seem harmful, there is hidden meaning behind them. When someone says a statement like that it is essentially saying that the person being talked about is an object  — something material that can be used and thrown away. It is dehumanizing and hurtful when you understand that. There is not much you can do to stop this behavior other than being informed, as well as educating others. If you are a parent, make sure your kids know this kind of behavior is not okay and that they should not tolerate it if it’s directed toward them.

 

Racism

by Calder Horowitz-McCadden

Racism is a serious issue in the United States of America. Racism topics need to get more publicity to bring enough awareness for racism to stop. Racism is still very much alive in our country, especially among the police. This issue needs to be put in the spotlight, not resisted or denied. As an article from The Huffington Post shows, Non-Hispanic white people are more likely to be in possession of drugs than African-Americans by at least five percent. However, African Americans are three times as likely to be charged with drug possession. This means that African Americans are being pulled over, checked, searched and tested far more than non-Hispanic white people. Racism is alive, even with young people. As an article from United News states African-Americans make up 60 percent of people in juvenile detention systems. African-Americans are also 18 times more likely to be put in jail after being in a juvenile detention system, as opposed to white non-Hispanic people. Also, African-Americans are more likely to be put in jail through juvenile detention proceedings, as opposed to their white non-Hispanic counterparts. This proves that racism affects all African-Americans and not just someone between the ages of 20 to 35. There are ways that you can help fix these racial issues, such as posting an article, making a YouTube video or just simply commenting on a popular news article. If everyone started making these issues a priority on social media, no matter your race, racial issues like these would become very hard, almost impossible for the government to ignore. By using social media to put pressure on our judicial and police systems, our government will be forced to change the laws to make the police more responsible for their actions.

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