Two issues ago, the Torch published a pro life opinion column, which received a pro choice rebuttal in the last issue of the paper.
As two individuals whose views on the subject on abortion clash strongly and who went into fierce debate when the article came out, we were surprised to find that a lot of people had problems with more than just the articles themselves; many students expressed that they felt that for opinion pieces like those to be in published in the Torch at all was outright unacceptable.
Despite our differing views on topics, we believe that for high school students to have a platform to express their opinions is crucial for our growth as young adults. There is probably no better time to develop these opinions and share them than in high school. High school is the last somewhat sheltered environment we have before entering the real world, where opinions are spoken about unchecked.
The Torch provides an opportunity for any student in the school, not just the Torch staff, to submit an opinion that their peers and teachers can read in the paper.
In turn, students in the school can voluntarily choose to read or not to read any article they want. Students know what an article is about before they read it, and they are never forced to listen to an opinion or read it at all.
Students who do read the articles are able to learn about the view of another classmate, oftentimes a view they haven’t heard about before.
We disagree. We are not too young to learn from other opinions and we are definitely not too young to branch out and form our own.
Earlier this year, many juniors and seniors registered to vote. Even sophomores and freshmen are not too far away from voting age and learn about political topics in history classes. Every student must take a government class, where much of the content covered includes different political stances and every student is subject daily to opinions and biases they hear from parents, teachers, and peers. Even in these classes, there is little room for open discussion and the opinion section of the Torch offers a safe space for these discussions to take place.
High school is the time in our lives when we need to learn how to be independent, and one of the most important steps to discovering that independence is formulating our own individual opinions. Hearing and seeing different perspectives through mediums like a school newspaper is critical to deciding how we feel about certain issues and having the most well rounded opinion.
There is no reason why students shouldn’t be able to talk about their opinions or share them in such a manner as the school newspaper, which no one is required to read.
Since the articles have come out, students and staff alike have had plenty of discussion on the subject of abortion and have debated back and forth over what they believe. A few groups even held a meeting to discuss the opinion section of the Torch and write a rebuttal back.
This is the point of opinion pieces in newspapers.
Articles aren’t designed to force people to hear an opinion they don’t want to hear, but to spark discussion. Every important decision ever made was talked about first, and every single person whose mind was ever opened first had to have had a conversation about a viewpoint different from their own.
As part of the next groups of students to enter the adult world, hold jobs, and meet people with all types of mindsets, we feel it’s important to start talking, thinking, and growing now. Opinion pieces in school newspapers foster this positive disagreement and growth.