What Are We Teaching Our Children?
A letter in the May 25 edition of The Wave has stirred up a hornet's nest of questions and comments. The letter, entitled "One Student's Opinion," was written by a young student at the Region Five Scholar's Academy (the school that was formerly JHS 180). The student asked for anonymity because he had some harsh things to say about the school and its administration. After speaking with the student, we granted that request. The calls and emails, many of them vehement in their opposition to the letter, came quickly on the heels of the paper's publication. The gist of many of the communications was that we should not have printed the letter at all because the program is tenuous under the city's new school governance plan and "The Wave should do everything it can to insure the program is continued, not denigrate it in any way." Some, who identified themselves as parents of students at the school, demanded the name of the student who wrote the letter, believing it to be a fake, written by a disgruntled parent or staff member. We refused. One person who identified herself as a parent said, when she was refused the name, "I don't care, we'll find out who it is and get them anyway." We have to worry about a parent whose only desire is to "get" a student for voicing his or her opinion in the letter section of the local newspaper. This student did a legitimate good deed by bringing the issue into the open. Whether he or she is right or wrong, the bottom line is that the student, or any student, has the right to redress his or her grievances in the newspaper. We should be encouraging students to voice their opinions, because democracy demands citizen participation at all levels. We should not be trying to stifle the voices of dissent, especially when those voices are our children, who believe they have a valuable thing to say.