To the Editor:
Imagine that you have been the principal of a 7-9 public school for the past 22 years. Your primary responsibility is to provide a safe learning environment for all of your students. You are also a big believer in action based learning.
In each of the four previous presidential election years your social studies department has sponsored a special election activity which has proceeded as follows:
First, the entire ninth grade divides into two political party conventions. Students may choose which convention to attend. Some students run as their party’s nominee – for example, Romney or Obama. Students campaigning are expected to follow the actual nominee’s platform. The conventions choose their nominees.
Next, the entire student body witnesses the two winning candidates’ debate. Once again they are expected to voice their nominee’s actual positions. On the actual presidential Election Day all registered students report to the polls to vote.
It is the year 2016. Your student body is 65 percent white and approximately 35 percent black and Latino. A small number of students practice the Muslim faith. Do you allow the conventions and presidential debate to occur, keeping in mind your primary responsibility? If you do not allow these activities, how do you explain your decision to the students?
Remember, all elections affect the entire population, not only those of voting age.
The writer is a retired social studies teacher.