After the Scarborough School District handed down a letter to teachers and other staff members on Monday telling them not to wear or display any slogans with "controversial" phrases displayed on them, Scarborough High School students decided to protest yesterday morning.

According to Channel 8 WMTW, school district officials outlined exactly what they consider to "have the potential to be controversial or politicized:"

  • Biden/Harris: Our Best Days Lie Ahead
  • Trump/Pence: Make America Great Again
  • Battle for the Soul of a Nation
  • Black Lives Matter
  • White Lives Matter

They later clarified the statement and the letter overall, as reported by WMTW, by saying that they just don't want the classroom to be used as an avenue to promote their own political values and opinions unless it is strictly due to a teaching moment. The Superintendent of Scarborough Schools also went on to say that the idea is to open topics up for conversation in classrooms, but to also allow for students to form their own opinions and beliefs and not be influenced by any of their educators.

On the one hand, I can understand what they're talking about -- if a social studies (do they even still call it that?) teacher walks into a classroom and is about to begin a lesson, and he/she is decked out in Biden/Harris or Trump/Biden swag, and is spewing the rhetoric of either of those candidates as a way to persuade students to join that party/way of thinking, that's one thing.

But also, I think this needs to be looked at with a 50-foot eagle-eye view. School preps you for the real world, right? In the real world, everyone's opinions roam free and run wild. You can't drive down the street right now without seeing 2938473298 signs on the side of the road for every candidate ever created, and some probably not even born yet.

I'm not saying teachers should be allowed to spew their personal beliefs to persuade students to their side of the political coin, but would a teacher supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and wearing a mask or t-shirt that states that, or another teacher who believes Donald Trump has been the leader of the country we've all been looking for and wears a t-shirt that talks about Keep(ing) America Great NOT prepare them for seeing that in the real world? Let's be real -- they already do see it everywhere.

If anything, the lesson should be something we've all apparently forgotten -- how it's possible for two people to have opposite views, but still be able to respect each other and co-exist; how it's possible for one person to hope in one week, Joe Biden becomes President while another person hopes Donald Trump stays put for another 4, and for that to be OK and for them to still be civil or even still be friends.

THAT'S the real lesson. It's like the participation trophy metaphor -- if everyone gets a trophy, no one learns how to bounce back from disappointment and learn that sometimes, you just don't win and things don't go your way. How are people supposed to learn how to co-exist in a society FILLED with different views and beliefs, when instead the lesson is to stifle your personal beliefs and then not know how to handle yourself when you're around opposing views because you've never been taught how.

Good on the Scarborough High School students for letting their voice be heard and sticking up for their educators and their educators' rights to support any candidate and any movement they see fit.

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