Bearcats fight for their beliefs in the face of dispute
PRHS has a political divide found since the beginning of this school year due to Trump’s election and policies, provoking the vocalization of opinions of students about government decisions. The topics of women’s rights, immigration, and Trump support are found throughout campus, from faculty and students attending the Women’s March, the student-led protest for “Day Without
Immigrants” on Feb. 16, and a vehicle in the parking lot displaying a flag bearing Trump’s name.
With any political divide, judgments are sure to arise. Students report feeling the intolerance at school in a recent survey of 36 people. Fifty three percent of students reported to being judged for their political opinion, with 75 percent of those students judged at school. On the other hand, 67 percent of students confess to judging others for their statements and appearance. Posts on social media, verbal comments, and personal opinions are the object of controversy, with the election only furthering the divide.
Both conservative and liberal students alike are reporting abuse and intolerance, including Junior Angelina Valencia and Sophomore Rylie Johnson.
“I try to remain peaceful but I’ve been told to take off my Bernie Sanders hat multiple times,” said Valencia. “I have been judged by my peers, having my appearance [and] social and financial status being linked to my political opinion.”
Valencia declared herself a Democratic socialist and a feminist who stands for the coexistence of all religions and races.
“I see people who hurt others in regard to politics, and I feel the need to talk about it,” said Valencia, whose beliefs have caused others to call her names just for standing up for what she believes in, such as fair treatment of others. “I believe that school is a place to talk about and express your political beliefs, but once it becomes hateful or dangerous, then it needs to be controlled. It is our right to protest as citizens in a democracy but once there is violence involved, then we need adults or teachers to step in and protect protesters”.
Sophomore Rylie Johnson has also been judged for her political opinions, but for the opposite reasons. She identifies as a republican and supports Trump.
“I have walked by people while wearing something supporting Trump, and people will say ‘F trump,’” Johnson said.
She stated that after school one day a girl came up to her and shoved her into a table because she was a Trump supporter. Johnson believes that most judgments and prejudices result in people being uneducated on the topic at hand and therefore does not support students expressing their political opinions at school; “most students don’t know anything about politics,” she said.
Both Johnson and Valencia have worn hats supporting either Sanders or Trump. They said they received backlash, either verbal or physical. No one political party is being discriminated against or bullied at PRHS. No matter what students stand up for politically, others will oppose them.
Although each political party has been judged, certain groups have felt more opposed than others. Johnson claimed, “I wasn’t told directly that we couldn’t have one [ a pro Trump rally] but I was told by many people [that we couldn’t] and when administrators heard that we wanted to have one they increased security”. Administration made no comment on this event.
Since Trump was inaugurated, school controversy has wavered. The women’s march and the immigration protest were the two greatest catalysts, and trouble has since died down. Though no great feuds are currently rampant, political opinions are still affecting students’ day to day lives. Whether vocal or thought, judgement, approval, fear, and hope are apparent even without a catalyst such as the recent election.