Teachers should talk politics

Suad Mohamed, Editorials Editor

In California, high school history teacher Frank Navarro gave a lesson to his students comparing and contrasting Adolf Hitler and President Donald Trump. In less than a week, the county had placed him on paid leave for influencing students.

Navarro’s termination was wrong for a number of reasons. Teachers should be able to express political opinions to older students, especially high schoolers.

Teachers shouldn’t devote entire lessons to talking about politics, but they shouldn’t be punished for making comments that relate to the topic being taught. It’s important to give varying perspectives to political issues.

Most teenagers are very much aware of the political issues that are going on in the US. It’d be healthy to have an educated person give their opinion on the things that they hear so much about in order to fully understand the issue.

Classrooms are also healthy and safe places to discuss among peers and learn about different perspectives on things like healthcare and immigration, and teachers sharing can open up that forum.

Some high school students are old enough to vote, too. In order to make an educated decision when hitting the voting booths, they need to hear about the pros and cons of the candidates. Discussing why one candidate has a better platform than the other helps when trying to make that choice

“I think it would be good for teachers to show political opinions because then we could develop arguments,” senior Ramata Sesay asserted. “It would help strengthen student-teacher relationships, and help students see teachers as people.”

From the time that people we are born, the opinions of our parents are forced upon us. While there’s nothing wrong with our parents telling us what they think, it’s not good for that to be the only thing you hear. When friends give their two cents, it’s probably heavily influenced by their parents opinion too. It is important for teens to get a variety of stances, such as a teacher’s in order to properly form an educated judgement. 

In addition, Annandale High School has a Young Democrats and a Young Republicans club, and other high schools have similar factions. In these groups, teachers acting like sponsors already give their beliefs heavily. If students can access their teachers standpoints in clubs, then it should be just as easy to hear their opinions in class. 

On the contrary, teachers stating their opinion can be unpleasant to some. It might make some students uncomfortable if a teacher’s opinion clashes with their beliefs. Some beliefs can make students believe that the teacher is against them. Parents might take it as the teacher forcing their opinion on their impressionable children. 

Above all, teachers should be able to express their political stances to older students, as it is beneficial to the students.