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.


Marijuana & Alcohol

by Miles Launderville

Unfortunately for our school system, many students are largely misinformed of the dangers of marijuana and alcohol use. Only 35 percent of Montpelier High School 12th graders think that they are at risk of harming themselves if they binge drink on weekends. Of these same 12th graders, only 21 percent think that they are at risk of harming themselves if they smoke marijuana regularly. This does not reflect well on our education system, which lacks drug education. People under 25 are actually at great risk of brain damage if they smoke marijuana regularly, as anyone under 25 has a developing brain. It is truly unfortunate that our school system has no drug education program and until it does, I urge parents to do their own research and inform themselves and talk to their children about drug and alcohol use.


Distracted Driving

by Anja Samsom

Many people die each year due to distracted driving. A law was passed that makes using a cellphone while driving illegal, but many people still do it. In 2009, according to the Vermont State Police, 5,500 people in the U.S. died in crashes that resulted from distracted driving. People should adhere to the law and stay off their devices. The law clearly states that “A person shall not use a portable electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle,” but many people still do. I can’t count the number of times that I have seen people driving with their phone to their ear, or looking down on their phone. According to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, the penalty for texting while driving is $156 for the first offense, and $329 for the second offense, which seems like it would be enough of a punishment for breaking this law. If people won’t put their phones down to save money, they should at least put down their phone to avoid becoming a murderer. Put down your phone when driving and remind others to do so, as well.

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