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Southridge in Post-Election America

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Cally Hutson

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Since Trump’s administration took office, a lot has changed. Immigration policies, women’s health care, pipelines, climate change orders. It seems that each day we are hit with a new order by President Trump as he actively reverses years of President Obama’s policies.

Across the country and within the greater Portland area itself, there have been massive protests and marches. From the Women’s March on Washington to the weekly rallies held in Pioneer Square, activism is alive and thriving in the United States.           

Amidst all this action it seems like Southridge is silent. However, we cannot deny that our student body has been affected by these changes.

Shortly after the inauguration, many of us heard about multiple incidents of freshmen drawing swastikas around campus and Muslim students being hit with paper wads. The fear and the trauma these incidents cause students is unlikely to subside immediately.

With no school-wide debrief of these hateful, bullying instances, we are throwing a veil over these students identities and experiences – almost denying that these events actually happened. While there are green posters hung up around the school proclaiming each classroom as a safe space where each student is welcome, regardless of race, ability, sexual orientation, gender etc, there lacks a resounding cry of inclusion and a defiant cry against any form of hate.

I have spoken to several teachers and administrators about this issue. More often than not, they claim the ‘silence’ is not due to a lack of care or trying; it’s due in part to the nature of the situation. While there is a huge group of students who are feeling the hurt by this election and the state of our nation, there is a minority group of students who support Trump and the change he is making. Navigating this line between supporting these students and ostracizing those that share Trump’s sentiments has put faculty in a difficult position.

However, teaching and spreading tolerance – the ability to respect and accept another person’s views and ideas whether or not they agree with them — should not be optional but something that is mandatory for all students regardless of their stance on these issues.

There should be a school-wide conversation on these events – from the incidents that happened close to home, to the new changes that continue to occur everyday in our nation. We must not be silent during these times but start a dialogue, something every student, regardless of their political views, would benefit from.

 

The Southridge Squawk welcomes all students to contribute their opinion editorials to our newspaper. Pieces should be less than a page and respectful in nature. Please submit your piece to [email protected]

 

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