“What are you wearing? What brand is that?” Constantly, we ask ourselves if what we are wearing is good enough and we feel as though the labels define us. We want to eliminate that thought and foster a community where everyone feels included, regardless of the logo on their chest. Similarly, we do not want students to feel as though they must think a certain way to be accepted in PHS’s learning environment. It is imperative that our school values freedom of expression in order for students to grow and develop individual perspectives. However, with the direct or implicit expectations caused pressure to wear certain clothes or teachers sharing their own opinions in a classroom setting, students may feel uncomfortable with who they are. Students often hear legends of Texas textbooks that teach creationism or refuse to acknowledge global warming, however at Piedmont we have run into our own problem regarding facts, or lack thereof. Outside and inside the classroom, we do not want to assign labels to anyone, so we believe teachers should refrain from asserting their opinions as the only valid ones. Just as brands cause students to conform to a social “norm”, this is another form of pressure. As a school, we seek to appreciate diversity in all forms, and we cannot disregard diversity of thought. The classroom is designed to be a place where facts rule supreme and objectivity is valued. Just as students experiment with a variety of clothing, shoe brands, and styles, students should be able to hear all sides of an issue from a teacher. If teachers inject their own opinions into a lesson plan, students are forced to distinguish between facts that teachers are telling them and the teachers’ personal views.
We realize current events may relate to class material and have the power to enhance learning. So, while we are not advocating for teachers to ignore current events, we are simply asking teachers to differentiate between their opinion and facts within conversations in which their bias would inherently show itself. If PHS prides itself on a place of higher education, then its staff must prioritize educating students with factual information in a way that allows students to feel comfortable forming their own political beliefs.