Why You Should Care About What's Happening In Douglas County School District

Why You Should Care About What's Happening In Douglas County School District

If you care about your first amendment rights, read this.
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As young people in America, our first amendment rights to freedom of speech, press, petition and assembly grant us the ability to stand up against any unfairness in our world, express ourselves without fear of persecution and essentially guarantee us the most free sort of living we can achieve.

Recently I was made aware of an instance in my own hometown where such rights of students were threatened in quite a concerning way by elected school board officials.

It would be nearly impossible for me to summarize everything that has happened in the Douglas County School District over the last several years to lead up to these recent events, but to summarize, teachers and parents are unhappy due to reasons including, but not limited to, school board reform, unjust methods of teacher evaluation, the onslaught of excessive standardized testing and generally unpleasant and unsatisfactory work environments. Teachers and principals have been dropping out of the district like flies and in turn, students are unhappy. They don't want to have to see their favorite teachers go over and over again.

Enter Grace Davis, a high school sophomore who attends school in the district. She saw what was happening and was upset by it, and in turn she organized a protest at her high school which many students attended. Grace was completely within her rights in doing so. The protest was peaceful and positively motivated. Grace should have been praised for standing up for what she thought was wrong. The district should have listened to her. If the school board officials genuinely cared about Grace's concerns, she would have received a positive response from them where her concerns were addressed. Grace certainly got a response, but it wasn't the one she deserved.

Instead, Grace was invited to a private meeting by board members Judith Reynolds and Meghann Silverthorn. After declining a request to meet off campus, Davis agreed to meet with the two women on campus at her school. She assumed her parents had been contacted. They had not been.

This is the first red flag.The only possible reason for the board members to not ask for the parent's consent in meeting with their daughter is simple: they did not want her parents to know. To add on to that, they did not make the other board members aware of what they planned to do. Weird, right? Don't worry, it gets weirder.

The conversation, or rather, the interrogation, between Reynolds, Silverthorn and Davis is available in its entirety on YouTube.

I I encourage you to listen to it to see for yourself, but its content is shocking and disturbing.

During the course of the 90-minute conversation that took place when Davis was supposed to be in class, she was accused of not actually knowing what her first amendment rights were. She was blamed for an instance of a policeman being hit by a car that was later proven to have occurred during a completely separate protest. Her concerns were thrown aside, and the board members instead attacked her personally. They used scare tactics to attempt to silence Davis. It was implied that Davis did not have a legal right to stage a protest, which she absolutely does.

There is a lot of content covered in the audio, which, by the way, was recorded by Davis herself, not the board members, of course. I find the bit about first amendment rights to be the most unsettling.

And here's where we get to the part about why you should care.

When the women accused Grace of not knowing her rights, I really just heard them trying to suppress her rights. I heard bullying tactics used to push her down. And if this can happen to her, why can't it happen to you? Elected adults in positions of power shouldn't speak to students in this way. They are twisting the truth and trying to make young people uninformed and confused. They are making an attempt to prey on the naivete of teenagers. It didn't work on Grace, but not everyone is so strong.

Reynolds and Silverthorn have since been asked to step down from their positions. Neither woman has done so.

If you care about your first amendment rights, this story affects you. If you have any opinions ever about anything, this affects you. If you are young, this affects you. If you believe in standing up for what is right, this story absolutely affects you.

I urge everyone to learn what is going on in Douglas County so you can make sure it doesn't happen in your own school district. Fifteen-year-olds being harassed and bullied by adults during school hours is only one of the issues this district is facing, and trust me, you don't want to see this happen in your hometown.


#IStandWithGrace

Cover Image Credit: The Denver Post

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Gillette Controversy: Should Companies Share Their Views?

"We Believe: The Best Men Can Be" by Gillette is about creating a conversation, whether you agree with the commercial or not.

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We Believe: The Best Men Can Be | Gillette (Short Film) www.youtube.com

January 13, 2019, Gillette released a commercial that takes a new focus on their tagline "The Best a Man Can Get." The commercial weighs in on the Me Too movement and showcases different moments of toxic masculinity.

These moments include boys bullying another boy through cyberbullying, two young boys beating each other up while fathers are watching them saying that "boys will be boys", a set of a 1950s sitcom where a man grabs his maids butt to which the audience is encouraged to applause and laugh at his act, and a businessman laughing at his female colleague's statement and then says to the other male colleagues, "What I actually think she means…"

A voiceover in the ad says, "Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can't hide from it, it's been going on far too long. We can't laugh it off, making the same old excuses. But something finally changed [implying the Me Too movement and people speaking up], and there will be no going back..."

The commercial then shifts to showing a man stepping in when another man tells a woman to smile, when a man stops another man from following a woman down the street, and video clips of men stopping fights and having two boys shake hands, as well as a father encouraging his daughter to say she is strong. There is also a moment when a father from the "boys will be boys" scene tells those kids fighting, "This is not how we treat each other."

The voiceover continues with "...Because we…We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But 'some' is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow."

This commercial sparked controversy with people saying that not all men show toxic masculinity, many people saying that this commercial is anti-male, and people saying they will now boycott Gillette and their partner company. Whereas others are praising the commercial with many saying that, if you're offended by this commercial, then that is why it was made.

But regardless of what you think of the commercial as a whole, the big topic of discussion is whether or not it is okay if companies should be political and put their two cents in through marketing.

I say yes.

I believe it is very okay for companies to express their thoughts and concerns about political and social issues through marketing. When the Me Too movement first came into the light, many people wanted Hollywood to stay out of politics/social issues. The public did not want to hear about the sexual harassment allegations throughout Hollywood, however, because of these celebrities bringing light to this issue more and more people, celebrity or not, are coming forward and speaking their truths.

More and more people are realizing the signs of harassment and speaking up before it can get worse. Society is more aware of these social issues because people with a platform are talking about it. Unfortunately, many people still do not want to listen to people with platforms, but having the conversation is important, so how else can we keep the conversation going?

That is where commercial and other forms of advertisements can come in. The commercial did exactly what it intended to do: to create a conversation. Talk shows like "The View" or "The Talk" are talking about, news outlets are talking about it, people on YouTube are talking about it, and here I am writing an Odyssey article related to the topic.

The commercial created conversation. It got people thinking about and discussing their concerns, their feelings about the idea of toxic masculinity, as well as how this commercial could or could not be the new wave of change. It is important to have conversations, as it is the only way for things to change and for people to see that how things used to be are not the way they should be now.

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