Seminar Day is for students. Let them decide
February 22, 2017
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At New Trier we are very lucky to have involved community and caring parents. It’s not unusual for every seat to be taken at the Board of Education meetings because parents want to know what’s going on at our school.
NT parents are organized too, with an active New Trier Parents’ Association (NTPA) and Facebook groups like “New Trier Parents.”
However, when it comes to the All School Seminar Day, parents need to let students make the ultimate decision on attending or not. They need to let students take the lead in supporting or opposing this day.
Yes, parents do have a vested interest in this day as it is their kids who are attending, and depending on who you speak with, are gathering valuable information on civil rights or getting brainwashed by a “leftist administration.”
However, the students are the ones who are processing this information, signing up for the seminars, and having thoughtful discussions about race.
The small, vocal, and well organized opposition movement seems to only be coming from parents. Parents created the Facebook group, the petition to “balance or suspend” the seminar day, and the website parentsofnewtrier.org to mobilize their displeasure with the content of the day.
While we appreciate our parents involvement, they should let students fight their own battles. Committing our own “minds to inquiry” and advocating for what we believe, whether it is for or against the existing seminar day. Parents forbidding their children to attend Seminar Day goes against all that we are taught at New Trier.
Denying us attendance is denying us the opportunity to evaluate, question and make conclusions regarding the content presented.
Our adult lives are not going to always be filtered or protected by our parent’s views and the earlier we learn to think critically for ourselves, the more open we become to new ideas and learn how to evaluate them.
The majority of student voices that have been shared on this topic seem to have been in support of the program. Former and current New Trier students have written open letters on websites and created petitions supporting the seminar day as it currently exists.
Of course there are also students that are opposed to the seminar day, but their voices are drowned out by the opposition coming from parents or from people outside of the community.
We urge those students to come forward so they can be heard and there can be discussions to understand the day’s purpose.
It is our job as students to tell the school and the community how the people who are actually involved and experiencing the day feel about it. This is an opportunity for student voice to shine through the fog of polarized parent opinions from the community and hyper-partisan websites such as Breitbart.
Our voice can be heard, not just through writing about it on Facebook, but also through action. So, show up to the Feb. 20 board meeting or go to the Seminar Day, because numbers are impossible to deny.