In what has become an annual exercise in free speech, students in Ryan Young’s class at Escalon High School have sent off their ‘Letters to the Editor, dealing with a variety of current topics.
The goal, Young said, is to get the students thinking about the world around them and focus on something that is important to them, something they feel passionately about and would change if they could. Topics range from texting and driving to online bullying, animal rights to unionized workers.
“Online bullying is becoming a huge problem nowadays,” wrote student Taylor Cockrell. “Everyone has the internet in their pockets and can get on it in a matter of seconds. The internet is so beneficial to us but some people tend to abuse the purpose.”
Kaylee VonAlvensleben also touched on cyber bullying in her letter.
“There’s no holding back when it comes to cyber bulling, it’s not like the bully can see the victim’s face or reaction,” she wrote. “They’re protected by a phone screen.”
Texting and driving drew the attention of Tyler Verble, who used some statistics to back up his argument about the dangers of the practice, which is also against the law.
“About 11 teens die each day because of texting and driving,” he noted. “There are 330,000 injuries per year due to texting and driving. These statistics show that something needs to be done.”
Alberto Hernandez focused on racial profiling, noting that he feels it’s “unfair for the people” who are shot and in some cases killed, because “the police officer usually never gets charged” in the case.
The letters give students an opportunity to share their views on current events and also serve as somewhat of a living history lesson, as they discuss the topics in class and debate the pros and cons of various stances.
Look for some of the student letters in their entirety in the Nov. 18 issue of The Times.