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High School Students Tackle Timely Issues
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It’s an annual project, done by Escalon High School students in Ryan Young’s classes.

Students choose a topic in the news today and craft a ‘Letter to the Editor’ to outline the issue and offer their position or thoughts on it, whether it be freedom of religion, technology, human trafficking and more.

Young said the exercise is one that gets the students thinking more about the outside world and can help start the conversation among peers about those key issues.

“I believe that a major issue in this world today that needs to be resolved and is not tolerable is human trafficking because it is wrong to sell people into slavery and it is wrong to let them be used as an object and not a person,” wrote Joshua Greene. “I mean how would you feel if you were sold like an object? If you were taken away from your family and used to do whatever someone wished to do to you. I think people in this world need to be awakened by what is really going on here.”

Student Haley Globke wrote her letter on online and social media bullying.

“This has been going on for way too long and must come to a stop,” Globke wrote. “In 2015 the suicide rate among teen girls ages 15 to 19 hit a 40 year high. Between 2007 and 2015, the rates doubled among teen girls and went up more than 30 percent in teen boys. These rates have increased so much because of how easy it is to bully people online now.”

The letter from student Said Rojas touched on the need to be more conscious of the environment.

“We have caused a lot of destruction to the atmosphere and the environment in general. We must make a change in the ways we commute,” Rojas wrote. “For example we should start by driving all electric vehicles, riding bicycles, or even something as simple as walking to school or work.”

The topic of peer pressure was touched on by Mya Beary.

“One of the most common things a teenager will experience is peer pressure, whether it is with drugs and alcohol, sex, body-image, or even the way they treat others,” Beary wrote. “Local schools and libraries should look into programs where students can message qualified individuals anonymously through websites to let out how they are feeling, even asking for advice.”

Still other letters dealt with issues like animal cruelty.

“I think the animal abuse is a problem that needs attention and should also concern others because it is starting to become more and more of an issue as more and more people are abusing, neglecting, and no caring about their animals and just throwing them onto the streets to fend for themselves and not even giving it a second thought,” wrote Juliana Yancey. “I think it is also a con ern because if one person can abuse an animal what is to say that person won’t abuse a small child or another human being.”

Once students have written the letters, they are provided to The Times for possible publication – look for selected student letters to be run in their entirety over the next couple of weeks in the Letters to the Editor portion of the newspaper.