Posted by: Staff | 05.20.2010

Thinking Beyond Borders Meeting, School Censorship Predicament

TAYLOR HAYES ’12

We all know that most teenagers are susceptible to the opinions of teachers, friends, and parents. What goes on around us can sometimes shape our own views. But to what length does the administration at Beaver feel they have to go to censor what we hear?

The presentation at all school meeting on May 6th sparked controversy and conversation. A student  from the gap year program Thinking Beyond Borders allowed us to see that it is possible for the administration, and some teachers, to enforce their beliefs in a demanding way, to ensure that ours remain neutral. But by this act alone, doesn’t it simply enforce their own views?

I won’t go into details about what happened during that specific presentation or the chain of events it caused because that is not whats important. What is important though, is what is deemed “appropriate” for students to hear. While I do think that there are some things that are more appropriate for upper school students than middle school students, I don’t think it is ever too early to hear what an experienced guest speaker has to say. If sixth graders learned what responsible decisions about alcohol or illegal drugs are there wouldn’t be as much of a pull towards the opposite when they got older.

These presentations are given so we can hear other people’s life experiences in ways we could not in the classroom. One student said, “I was very disappointed with how the school handled this situation because the presenter said throughout the presentation that these were his experiences. It wasn’t his intention to generalize.” Another example of censorship would have to be the SALs  (Social Action Leaders) presentation about gender last month. The SALs discussed various things including gender roles and how you identify with your gender. They had planned to include more, but they were told that since it was an all school meeting and it was a visit day certain things had to be omitted.

Here is a question for you…what do you think while you sit in Bradley Hall watching these various presentations? Have you ever made a presentation to the Beaver community and felt like you were censored?

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