Pro

Diana Kohr

Following the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas High School, thousands of students joined together to protest gun violence. Protests like these are a key feature of our democracy, granting a political voice to all citizens. Although some believe that elementary school students are too young to be exposed to controversial political issues, it is necessary for all members of the community to understand the political process and be comfortable taking part in it. In the future, the younger generation will run government and vote, impacting the preceding generation and generations to come.

“Children can be introduced to political issues in a way that makes sense to them,” said Betty Chan, a math teacher at Miller Middle School and a mother. “[They] can be politically active if it’s related to something they care about.”

Additionally, due to the rise of social media, political propaganda is now accessible anywhere. This generation is unique in the amount of political information that it receives through social media. This makes it absolutely necessary for younger students to understand the political climate and be able to make their own informed decisions.

A 2016 study of 187 elementary school students regarding the presidential election shows that children do have an interest in politics. More than 90 percent of children could provide information about the candidates, and nearly 99 percent expressed a preference for one candidate and knew the election outcome.

“I would talk about [politics] as it comes up in real life or in the news or in school,” said Chan. “I would also give my kids space to share their thoughts and what they are hearing from friends, media, etc. Then as a parent, I would share my own view, explain it to them and let them know it would mean a lot to me if they adopt my view… if it’s something important to me.”

While Congressmen have the authority to make legislative decisions, citizens retain the right to make their voice heard through peaceful protest, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. Any citizen, regardless of race, gender or age, is guaranteed this crucial right, including children. In this day and age, it is especially important for children to become politically active, in order for them to find their voice and express it.