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Political polarization sparks classroom comments

THURS. | 04-21-22 | OPINION

     For some reason, the class of 2025 has had a big problem with making racist comments in the classroom. This is not to say that the 2025 class is the only class with racist people in it, but this class has specifically had problems with racism.

     I have heard multiple accounts of different students making racist comments towards their peers. From intimidating classmates to writing about bringing back slavery, this class has had some of the most blantant racism that I have seen throughout all my years of high school. 

     I’m not sure what the cause of the influx of racism in this class is. It could be due to the fact that they haven’t had normal interaction with people since they were in seventh grade. Through missing the vital years of interaction that the end of middle school brings, they might have forgotten how to interact with people that were different from them.

     However, I believe it has more to do with the way political culture has changed in this country over the last few years. Things have become more politically polarized. For example, wearing masks to protect

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each other has become a political issue. People with beliefs like these have become more and more vocal in communities such as ours, as they have seen politicians and people in the limelight speaking about various things more openly than before.

     Group psychology is a strong factor in how people act. When a group of people start acting one way, others tend to follow that group. These kids see adults acting in ways that perpetuate racism and come to believe that it is okay to act the same way. Not to mention that if they have grown up in an environment where that is frequently discussed, they are more likely than not going to have the same opinions as their parents.

     I think the best way to handle students who are acting this way is to suspend or even expel them. They need to learn that they cannot treat people poorly just because they look different from one another. By taking them out of school, it not only shows them that they are in the wrong, but also that that isn’t how society functions. We cannot have a functioning world if we try to bring down our peers and stifle differences. When they are removed from school, it shows them that acting that way will not be tolerated. If they want to be functioning members of society, they must learn to respect each other.

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