Behind Bars: Students Feel Censored

by Hailey Elder | Class of 2018 | Aug. 10, 2017

   I come to school every day with a mind full of ideas- ideas that could change the world, yet I rarely express those ideas. I just sit in my chair with my mouth shut, like I’m supposed to. I just do as I’m told, like I’m supposed to. I just passively absorb what is given to me, regurgitate it, and forget it- like I’m supposed to.

 

   I feel like I’m in a prison. I am one of hundreds of inmates, I mean students, serving a 13-year sentence. Once we get released for good behavior- I mean when we graduate- we are just another name in the books.

 

   Aside from a mug shot that hangs in the commons, there’s really no evidence we were ever here- and there’s a reason for that. We aren’t allowed to leave our mark nor speak our minds. We aren’t allowed to have a mind of our own. We aren’t allowed to disagree. We aren’t allowed to challenge, to question, or to express ourselves. And here’s the real problem with that:  School isn’t just about learning from our teachers, it’s also about learning from each other. Tell me, how are we going to learn from each other without anyone being able to freely

state what they think? We don’t learn how to politely disagree in school, and that’s the reason most adults can’t. Once we go into the real world, where we are finally able to express our thoughts, we  can’t.

 

   We can’t stand the fact that other people might think differently because we’ve never learned how to agree to disagree.  Don’t believe me? Open up a newspaper. Turn on the TV. Check your social media. Our country is being torn apart because of adults who cannot express their opinions without frustration and retaliation by those who disagree.

 

   But understand, the school and its teachers aren’t to blame- we are. The prison to which I’m referring is self-inflicted. Ditching censorship starts within yourself. Don’t be silent. Speak up.  And stop expecting others to censor themselves as well. Learn to not only hear, but to really listen, to those whose opinions differ from yours. After all, having a differing opinion from others doesn’t make you disrespectful, it just makes you different. That’s a good thing.