Politics in class


Graphic by Rinu Daniel.

Chisom Ukoha, Staff Writer

With the  current presidential election cycle underway talk about politics has started to arise in class.


Stefanie Clarke -Anatomy teacher

How do you feel about talking about politics in class even though it is not part of the curriculum?

I think it is good to talk about it in class, especially since I’m teaching mostly seniors and everyone is getting to the age where they can go and vote. So I think it’s good to let everyone hear other people’s perspective in a safe atmosphere. Part of being a teacher is helping to create a better well informed society. Besides your parents we are the adults you see the most, and a lot of the time, teenagers don’t care to hear what their parents have to say. I feel like I can step in and have different perspectives and allow them to speak their mind, and give my adult opinion. I think that this election would be open the door for there to be a lot of argument, but in my observations it has actually been a pretty safe environment. I love how students are able to say that their for this candidate and another student can say that they are for another candidate and for it to be completely polar, but still being able to talk about it peacefully. Which I think is kind of cool, because at least for my generation, it’s not that normal.


Bill Visco – English IV teacher

Do you think it is important for teachers to talk about politics inside of class?

English IV teacher Bill Visco, shares his views on talking about politics in class. Photo by Alexandra Dalton.
English IV teacher Bill Visco, shares his views on talking about politics in class. Photo by Alexandra Dalton.

I think that it is OK for you to talk about politics, as long as you are not aspousing any beliefs or not trying to give or sway an opinion. I think that as long as you are not choosing sides, as long as you are bipartisan on it, i don’t feel like there is anything wrong with it. As a teacher, as someone who is older, you should help inform students about the

political process, about what what candidates are saying, if what they are saying is true or false, not based on your beliefs, but based on facts. I think that if mediated correctly it can be not only a safe environment, but also a productive discussion. Especially in history classes or government classes, or even economic classes or in my class, a literature class, I think it is important because government, politics, they affect, history, they affect literature. So it is hard to disassociate politics, government and literature away from each other. Because they are so intermingled. I think that if you can’t meditate it properly it can get heated. I think that once you see people getting excited you need to switch the topic off. I don’t think it is for everyone to talk about, and I don’t think it is for everyday discussion, but denying what’s happening in America during a political cycle is being disingenuous. Because it is so prevalent and kids are coming to school wearing shirts of candidates, or putting stickers on cars for candidates, so obviously it is something they need to know about. For most students it is their first time with a presidential election, that they are able to partake in. Why not try and help and foster discussion, once again in a nonpartisan way. The last thing a teacher should be doing is aspousing any beliefs, or telling them “oh I’m voting for this person” or “this is the right candidate”


Doctor Johnson – Stats teacher

Do you find it important to talk about politics even though it is not on the curriculum?

Yes, I like to use politics as an everyday example, to illustrate the curriculum. And in my case we use politics or political issues to discuss statistical issues. I don’t have issues with the class getting to heated, because I try and keep the discussion focused on the statistical aspect of it. If a student were to try and agitate the class, I would try and bring the conversation back to statistics, and that usually calms things down. Second, I would try and explain to the class the that it is OK to have different views and that people have multiple view and reasonable minds will differ in politics, so that in that way reaffirming different views.


Ann Clark – Art History Teacher

Do you think that it is important for teachers to talk about things outside of their curriculum, like politics?

I believe when it is appropriate, and allow the students to speak only those who want to speak. I would never force anyone to voice their opinion that didn’t want to voice their opinion. Sometimes it gets heated, depending on who we are talking about, but for the most part it is calm and collected. And my job is to keep that in check.