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Tahlequah Public Schools



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High School Students React to Current Issues

Perhaps the thing that puts Speech and Debate on the map of high school is the Freedom Wall. The freedom wall is put up in the hallway on Constitution Day with a plethora of sticky notes available for students to anonymously voice their personal opinions on current events. The two most recent issues on the freedom wall were “Should the Confederate flag be flow in today’s society?” and “Would Donald Trump make a good president?”

Students, teachers and staff rushed to the wall to write their opinions on the two controversial subjects. Before much time had elapsed, dozens of opinions appeared on the subjects, categorized into yes, no, and neutral.

In the question of “Should the Confederate flag be flown in today’s society?” 57% of students voted yes, 27% voted no, and 16% were neutral on the issue. Amongst the short answers of “yes” and “no” with the occasional frowny face, many students voiced a well-constructed answer to the topic. One student wrote, “It should not be flown by a government or on government property. Individuals should (and do) have the right to fly the Confederate flag.” Another student wrote, “The Confederate flag was a battle flag of one of the rebel units. I feel it should be allowed to fly. It represents the soldiers that fought for their rights. It is not a symbol of slavery though some racist organizations have used it.” Another response was, “No, it is based on expired morals and represents a lot of pain and goes against the unity of the United States and our beliefs.”

Then, the question everyone was itching to answer, “Would Donald Trump make a good president?” 11% of students voted yes, 78% voted no, and 11% were neutral on the issue. Scattered amongst bold, circled, and repeated appearances of “no” on the sticky notes, several responses were a bit lengthier. One student wrote, “I do not think he’d make a good president. He is all about big business. He is not voicing himself well on issues, and he’s never held a political office.” Another student wrote, “No, Trump wouldn’t. He would ruin the whole world. He is the rudest person in the whole world. I have never seen someone so selfish like him.”

The Freedom Wall is an exceptional outlet for students, faculty and staff around the school to express how they feel with no risk of persecution for their anonymous views.