The Foothill Dragon Press

Is Foothill comfortable for conservative students?

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Is Foothill comfortable for conservative students?

Credit: Jessie Snyder / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jessie Snyder / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jessie Snyder / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Jessie Snyder / The Foothill Dragon Press

William Flannery

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Foothill is a pretty accepting and comfortable school, and while this sounds like self-promoting propaganda, it’s very true. We have a reputation of having a variety of students who are expressive of their differences, who treat Foothill like a second home.

Any Dragon can tell you about the number of bizarre and wonderful personalities that populate these halls, made evident by those who carelessly wear all sorts of outlandish attire. But, there has always been a particular group that has remained to the side of our school culture, a group we never think much of because their voice is suppressed: conservative students.

Now, the conflict of party views amongst peers isn’t unique to Foothill, there will always be opposing political ideas across our nation’s educational institutions. The question is, does Foothill itself offer an environment where conservative students feel comfortable expressing their beliefs?

Let’s start with the Foothill Dragon Press. While we ourselves don’t represent the school administration, we are student voices, and even if we aren’t the embodiment of the student body as a whole, we do have “Foothill Dragon” attached to our name. To the student community, we are as much an association with our high school as a sports team would be; and because we express specific views and opinions under the Foothill name, they feel as if their voices are being oppressed and obscured to the rest of the world. In a survey we released to our fellow peers, they made it excruciatingly clear that the opinions section doesn’t embrace a wider variety of views.

One of the participants said “I believe that a good opinion article should spark discussion and frankly that is not something that I am often witnessing,” which is a criticism that conservative students feel the rest of our viewer base is blind to. How can you be able to share your own political beliefs if everyone associates your school with one viewpoint? Suddenly, what they have to say is irrelevant because we are the medium people access our “school views” from.

“The FDP doesn’t choose conservatives to please their personal bias, and the kids cover issues in politics in the most liberal way possible,” was another reply, one that echoes frustration with their voices being overshadowed by the FDP. No matter what legal or ethical loopholes our editors throw at the public, it doesn’t change how the students feel: we are a global outlet of our school to all of society. Our voices ultimately represent theirs whether they like it or not, and they feel as if this association is constricting their own opinions.

One of my friends was appalled to see an anti-Trump cartoon on the cover of our magazine, one that was distributed across the campus. I guarantee you if a parent or outside viewer saw it, their minds would immediately be drawn to “Foothill” scrawled across the cover, not “Foothill Dragon Press”. No matter how many editorials we write, no matter how many times we make it clear that we aren’t representative of Foothill itself, the interrelation between school and press will never dissipate. Hopefully, this next year of staffers works to fix this, but only if we accept that this publication is attached to the school and to our students.

Even without glancing at our opinion section, you could tell that Foothill is a rather liberal community. When Bernie Sanders came to deliver speeches at Ventura College, a majority of our students flocked across the street, even causing a major conflict with our SBAC test participation. But, when Trump was elected as president, most of our classes fostered a gloom and some students even shed tears. As a student who isn’t even particularly fond of Trump, I felt incredibly uncomfortable as a conservative that day, because I was glad Hillary didn’t win; I could only imagine how students who fully supported our current president felt, hiding their right to be happy in a sea of disappointed peers, maybe even friends, who could turn on them for their political views.

Aubrey Lehr ’18, a student from a conservative family, had a similar experience regarding her views on the president. “I was just in art class and one for the kids walked up to me. He was like ‘Does anybody actually support Trump?’ and I raised my hand,” Lehr stated.

“He started laughing because he thought I was joking and then he stepped back after he realized that I was serious but then he started whispering about me behind his back, but I was fine with it,” she said.

Though she remained strong and wasn’t fazed by the response of this student, there is still the sense that “Foothillites” find the conservative view alien to our campus and can be shocked for no apparent reason.

It isn’t just the students either. Teachers often share their own political views while instructing class without offering the alternative view. There are teachers who use both sides of the political spectrum to teach children, but they also express their own views without considering how stressed and ostracized students of differing ideology are made. I don’t believe any of our teachers do this intentionally, as they all truly care about us as pupils, but they do make this mistake and conservative students don’t have much voice to let them know how awkward they can feel.

For Lehr, there are times where “it’s kind of hard to voice you opinion because you are going against what the majority believes” but when it comes to the staff, she feels there’s still acceptance in the atmosphere.

“Teachers don’t really make it uncomfortable it’s just harder to talk about it,” Lehr explained. Sometimes when a teacher expresses that they don’t like Trump, she’ll “go home and talk to [her] mom about it,” which is something I recommend all students who feel any of their opinions are being sheltered at school. You shouldn’t allow the school environment to affect your political and social views.

“A lot of the stuff that we hear is liberal and sometimes your views can get caught up in the mix of that, and you don’t actually know what you believe until you step back,” Lehr stated.

While Foothill isn’t exactly oppressing their conservative pupils, for a school that boasts about acceptance, we still have a lot of progress to make. To echo former President Ronald Reagan, Foothill must still work to become a “shining city upon a hill” for all students.

 

What do you think?
9 Comments

9 Responses to “Is Foothill comfortable for conservative students?”

  1. Josh on May 11th, 2017 8:56 pm

    Why should we make it comfortable for people who want the needless death of people in Syria and Afghanistan or want people to be separated from their families by ICE, or lose their healthcare and die of preventable illnesses? Views which cause bigotry and discrimination shouldn’t be regarded as perfectly valid as other opinions, it’s very good that they feel ashamed at Foothill for advocating for policies that will cause harm for millions of people.

     
  2. Kai on May 13th, 2017 6:44 pm

    Yea I definitely feel that Trump has done and thinks some pretty bad things to say the least. I’m not sure why people support him and his views, and I think that’s a really important factor to look at. I agree with Josh, Trump has enforced policies that have caused devastation, and will probably cause more in the future.

     
  3. Lucas on June 4th, 2017 1:20 pm

    Kai, I would highly encourage you to back up your claims with some sort of evidence. “Trump has done some pretty bad things” and you couldn’t name one of them? What policies has Trump enforced in only a few months that have literally caused devastation? And on what grounds can you assume it will cause “more?”

    I can literally copy and paste your comment, and change every mention of “Trump” to “Kai.” There’s no factual basis behind anything you said. Don’t dislike Trump because it’s the popular thing to do, and think for yourself.

     
  4. Kai on June 5th, 2017 10:23 pm
  5. Lucas on June 4th, 2017 1:17 pm

    Why should intolerant, narrow minded filth like you be allowed to attend at Foothill? If you want to talk about the needless death of Syrians and Afghani’s, or the deportation of people by I.C.E, we can talk about those. Between 2009 and 2015 his administration has removed more than 2.5 million people from the country, more than any president before him. The Obama administration authorized 26,171 bombs to be dropped in the middle east in 2016 alone. It’s the liberal policies of Obama and his counterparts that push the narrative that Blacks and Whites are somehow different. It’s people like you that further worsen race relations by separating them into categories. Bigotry and discrimination stem from people like you, that feed off of starting race-related arguments and belittling other people. Rather than working to alleviate poverty, you blame conservatives for hating minorities and killing people, making whites hate people like you, and making said minority groups hate the whites because they’re being fed your propagandist filth. Check your like to dislike ratio here friend, 3 likes to 7 dislikes. We go to a MASSIVELY liberal school. Like…UBER liberal, and even here, your opinion is simply disgusting, and it’s safe to say very few people agree with you, which is a great thing. You should be expelled for your remarks. People like myself should feel ASHAMED at foothill? And people like ME advocate for policies causing harm to millions? It’s the last 8 years of democratic, liberal policies that have led to hundreds of thousands of innocent middle-eastern lives to be ended. Keep that in mind before you run your ill-informed mouth again.

    Maybe it’s you. Maybe you should feel ashamed, and maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to be here any longer.

    –Might I also add, the district mission statement says “The Ventura Unified School District will educate all students in safe, healthy…[environment] And your toxic statements lead myself and fellow conservative students to feel threatened and unwelcome. Further putting you in the wrong, not only in our eyes, but the eyes of the district.

     
  6. Ryan on June 8th, 2017 8:18 pm

    Let’s take it easy here, shall we. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to call out “toxic statements” in the same reply where you call someone “filth”. Not to mention that a big part of your argument is composed of personal attacks, instead of directly refuting opinions with evidence. While there were definitely mistakes in the Obama administration, there are and will be many mistakes in the Trump administration as well.

     
  7. Priscilla Rouse-Becker on May 14th, 2017 1:29 pm

    I understand that most people vote along party lines BUT I think it is important to note that being a conservative does not necessary equal a Trump supporter. It is important to allow everyone to have a voice and not assume based on a label of conservative or liberal what or who that person supports or not supports. A willingness to listens opens the door for both sides to learn and establish a better understanding of themselves and others while eliminating alienation and misdirected frustrations.

     
  8. John Winthrop on May 17th, 2017 1:42 pm

    Ummmm excuse me, John Winthrop actually said “shining city upon a hill” circa 1630 and Regan just copied him. Also, put your punctuation inside your quotation marks.

     
  9. God on May 18th, 2017 4:17 pm

    Ummmm excuse me Johnny boy, I think we all know where you got that one from **Me**
    “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:14‬

     

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.

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