Should politics be allowed in the classroom?


A government or history class can be greatly benefited from discussions of politics.

Ash Reynolds, Clubs and Organizations Editor

As high school students grow to be adults, they are thrust into a world with more rights than they have ever had before. One of the most important rights they are given is the right to vote.

With politics affecting every aspect of these students’ lives, a question may arise: Should teachers be allowed to discuss politics?

Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer to this question. There are way too many factors that play into this topic to simply limit the answer to a “yes” or “no.”

So, what are some of these factors? The first, and probably most important, is the manner in which these topics are being approached. 

Teachers should be allowed to tackle controversial issues, as they are likely to have an effect on their students at some point or another. They should not have to stray away from important issues for fear of backlash from students or parents.

However, there is a certain way these topics should be approached. It is important that every student’s voice has the opportunity to be heard. It is even more important that these issues do not bring harmful results to minority students.

If, for example, a class is having a discussion regarding a political topic, such as inequality or gun control, in a respectful, intelligent way, then it can be extremely beneficial to the learning environment. 

On the other hand, if a student or teacher is strictly discussing partisan politics, not allowing for opposing views, or discussing politics in a hateful manner, then the learning environment quickly becomes toxic.

Students deserve to feel safe at school. An uncontrolled political discussion can quickly turn hateful. Hate speech should not be tolerated in any capacity; however, some teachers are unequipped to reel these types of conversations back in before they get ugly.

Therefore, not all classrooms should contain political discussions. 

In a government, history, psychology, or even sociology class there are obvious reasons why politics can come up. In these cases, discussions are almost always insightful and rarely even begin to go downhill.

However, a science or mathematics class does not have many justifiable reasons that politics, especially politics of the partisan variety, should be discussed or debated.

Now if one random day one of these classes gets derailed for a few minutes talking about a controversial current event, there is not necessarily a problem with it. As long as it remains a single random minute or two.

However, if a science or mathematics class is often switching gears from cells or algebra to partisan politics, then students’ class time is wasted, and they are not going to learn anything.

It has been argued that, since teachers are very unlikely to change students’ political views, it does not matter if they are discussed. 

It is true that teachers will probably not change students’ views. Regardless, it is still a waste of time in a class that has very little to do with politics. 

Political discussion can build communication skills and allow students to not just consider what they believe, but why they believe it. However, just like most things in life, there is a time and a place for it.