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The difference between fighting prejudice and being a pain

Joshua Irvine

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I was told a story recently in which a student, in response to a (factual, or at least reasonable) religious assertion made by a social sciences teacher, proceeded to interrupt class for his/her own lecture fighting back against what the student somehow saw as an attack on their religion.

The student received no known punishment for his/her actions, despite interrupting class for what essentially came down to an unwarranted and unsubstantiated rant.

If my analysis of this event sounds simplistic, forgive me; I’ve deliberately avoided disclosing the specific details of the event to protect both the identities of the student and teacher (and my own well-being from the both of them). But what strikes me most from this encounter, as well as countless others that have occurred within my sight, is the unintended consequence of the increasing need to guarantee a emotionally safe environment for students; the idea that even correct statements can be challenged by someone unwilling to accept the facts of life – and then get off scot free for it.

By no means do I intend to condone material that is false or obscene; I and the rest of this publication’s staff do follow a journalistic code specifically designed to prevent such content from entering this publication (a statement that will likely provoke further abuse from those who enjoy mocking our “kiddie paper”).

However, that same journalistic code dictates that we see to it that the facts are displayed clearly and accurately. For the same reason I would speak out against the teacher in the aforementioned scenario if they had made an untrue or obscene statement, I now target my criticism against the student and any who attempt to imitate his/her stunt. When an argument holds no substantial factual merit, it does not deserve to be heard, much less interrupt a class period for.

Again, as no doubt the publication of this story alone will prompt angry emails or calls demanding this publication be shut down.  It is rather a general condemnation of those who think they can say whatever they want without consequence – or those who think they can stop anyone from saying something they disagree with.

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The student news site of John Hersey High School
The difference between fighting prejudice and being a pain