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Evolution of the First Amendment in schools

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Evolution of the First Amendment in schools

Madison Riter-Bowman, 11

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In today’s society there is a lot of debate about what being politically correct is and what it does to us. There isn’t exactly one set, correct definition of the word.  Some people believe it is being respectful to those who are different than us or may have different beliefs or opinions than us.  While others believe it means censoring what we say or do to avoid offending anyone.  Schools today are strongly enforcing this more than they may have in the past, and students are beginning to feel like they are losing their First Amendment because of this.  Being politically correct, or being more censored within schools on what we can and can’t talk about or do, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can have negative effects on students.  

In schools, students are told what we can and can’t say or do.  Schools want to avoid conflict with students and parents by considering everyone’s feelings but by doing this they aren’t allowing many things to be talked about.  When none of these thoughts and opinions are being expressed we aren’t exposed to people having thoughts that go against what we think or believe on these matters.  Once we move on from school and go out into the real world, nobody is keeping these things from being discussed.  We are unexpectedly put head to head with people who aren’t always going to agree with what we say.  Since we aren’t being exposed to these situations at an earlier time we aren’t taught how to talk about our different opinions in a professional manner, leading to more violence or aggressiveness within these discussions.  

A study done by the University of Michigan’s Dr. Sara Konrath shows that because of this, upcoming generations are seeming to have less empathy towards one another since the fact that, what they think isn’t what everyone else thinks, wasn’t always clearly divulged to them.  

A lot of people believe that if you aren’t speaking politically correct then you don’t respect other people.  You can be respectful or have respect for somebody without being politically correct, but you have to know the difference between an opinion and being crude or disrespectful to others.  For example if you’re saying things just to bash someone or purposefully hurt them then it probably shouldn’t be said, but you can voice your opinion in a way that isn’t disrespectful but is still true to how you feel.  

Overall schools are enforcing this kind of correctness more and many students have mixed or unhappy feelings about it.  There’s different ways we can go about this but in the end we shouldn’t have to hide or avoid talking about our opinions, we need to be taught how to talk about them in a respectful way.  If we teach incoming students how to voice their opinions respectfully and respect others opinions it can help decrease the amount of violence and raise empathy levels between students, ultimately helping us come together as society and work together more efficiently.

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Evolution of the First Amendment in schools