Climate can inhibit political viewpoints

Ethan Weihl
Video Editor

Junior Sarah Kaul participates in a Speak Up meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Speak Up was formed two years ago by a group of students that was trained by the Anti-Defamation League in facilitating discussions with peers about bias and discrimination. Photo by Ethan Weihl.

In 1969, the Supreme Court ruled in Tinker v. Des Moines that students maintain their First Amendment rights while in school. However, some students feel that their speech isn’t being respected.

“I have freedom of speech… but it still feels like I’m being judged,” senior Preston Haney said.
Junior Sarah Kaul echoed those sentiments.

In regards to talking politics, Kaul said, “There are areas where I don’t think I can… People will take advantage of that part of me.”

Both Kaul and Haney said that a lot of the issues come down to the maturity of their peers.

“They just try to make jokes about it,” Kaul said.

In an ECHO survey of 33 respondents, over half felt that those with more right leaning views are more often silenced than those with left leaning views.

“I think that my personal views will often be respected, but I would think that more conservative or Republican views would be less respected,” one respondent said.

Haney and Kaul felt teachers were not a part of the problem.

“Teachers do a fairly good job of keeping politics out of conversation,” Haney said.

As for steps that could be taken to address this issue, Haney kept it simple: “It’s literally the golden rule… You can do it to me as long as you think it’s accepted.”

Kaul suggested a club that could help bridge the divide: “I think that Speak Up has really noble intentions… Facilitating those anti bias trainings can really have an impact.”

Kaul also hoped people would “start asking real questions,” to try to understand others better.

However, Haney pointed out that “people need to be able to understand that people’s opinions are people’s opinions.”

Kaul hopes that these changes can take effect soon, as “That can be so much more… successful than teasing me about what I’m passionate about.”


Ethan Weihl – Video Editor

This is senior Ethan Weihl’s second year on ECHO Staff. He previously served as News Editor.  He has not decided on college yet, but he wants to major in Political Science, History and/or Journalism.


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