A learning experience
I admire the Berkeley Springs High School students who wore the red T-shirts with messages supporting their positions on health care, a major political issue that affects most Americans.
I commend School Superintendent David Banks and the Morgan County School Board for their calm examination of the situation and their rational decision to uphold established democratic principles.
I applaud Russell Mokhiber for encouraging student involvement in important issues and I think that Delegate Daryl Cowles, in his reaction to the students, revealed his lack of understanding of the importance of freedom of speech.
I also applaud Mokhiber for the very thing that Cowles criticized him for — his determined stance on issues important to him and his willingness to fight for his beliefs even when they challenge the status quo. If, throughout our nation’s history, there were not people willing to challenge the status quo, women and African Americans would not now have the right to vote, very young children would still be working long hours in factories, fields and coal mines, and a normal work week would continue to be 60 hours or more.
I am dismayed by Cowles’ statement, quoted from an email to constituents: “The debate over big government health care, big government taxes, big government control, and big government deficits...has no place in our school learning environment.” Schools should encourage students, after they study various points of view on current and past events, to openly discuss the issues and to develop their own positions. Our democratic society needs informed and involved citizens and what better place to start than in our schools.