DHS: A place of learning, or a place of divide?

How President Trump’s wall has split students now more than ever

The environment at Darien High School is seen as being a safe, comfortable, accepting one where students can express their ideals and not be ridiculed.  This feeling of being able to say what one believes, however, is not true for all students. Some may not see it, but the students at DHS are very divided. There are many things that divide the school, but one major division lately has been President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall at the United States southern border.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions and many have differing ones at DHS.  In respect to the proposed wall, some students like the idea of a wall and others hate the idea of it.  While some like to keep their opinions to themselves, there are students and teachers who express their views openly and make it known to others what they want our nation to do.  And many people feel uncomfortable showing their views and expressing how they feel once they know others in their class strongly support the opposing position.

Current Wall along the U.S.-Mexico Border

Because we live in a “Blue State,” students often assume that fellow students will automatically believe that border protection – in the form of a wall – is something they cannot get behind. That overgeneralization – that all New Englanders think alike – is not true.

Sophomore Jake Wade said, “I do want a wall at the US-Mexico border, the wall is absolutely in the best interest of the American people.”  

Wade’s statement demonstrates there are students at DHS who support President Trump’s proposed border wall.  Many students may not think that their friends have differing opinions, but it is much more common that some would think.

While another student, sophomore Maisie Stewart said, “No, the wall is not effective and is more of a symbol of racist divide. It does nothing to help the problem Trump is trying to tackle.”

These comments illustrate the divide in the high school because in these two accounts alone, the answers are total opposites. Also, Stewart brings race into the answer assuming that the wall is a way for Trump to hide the racism that she believes he has.

While Wade had another answer.“There is a divide at the school about the wall just as there is [a difference of opinion] about everything. Some people think [something] is immoral and err on the side of emotion and some err on the side of logic and critical thinking,” Wade said.  With this comment, Wade calls out other issues that the school is going through and what could be the cause of it. Wade believes that students either think with logic and some think with emotion. This is how he perceives the division on many other topics at DHS.

The responses from Stewart and Wade demonstrate how there is a political divide at DHS which can create high levels of tension and stress for the students.  Students may have to worry about other things going on at school or at home. And to have disagreements over political topics creates difficulties in their lives that are unneeded.

Another contributing factor to the divide at DHS is the mixed messages being sent by the mainstream media.  Students watch many different networks, such as: CNN, ABC, Fox, CBS, and many more. The different and sometimes altered information that is reported by these networks does not help students understand what is really going on in the nation all together.  

Regarding the proposed wall, an article written by CNN, states that the wall is a 

President Trump visiting prototype walls

“So-called solution to a crisis that doesn’t exist, but if it did exist, the wall wouldn’t solve it,” a CNN article said.

However, this contradicts a video interview conducted by Fox with Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw (R):

So, do walls work? The answer is very clearly yes,” he said.  These two credible sources can be seen as very confusing to people.  Without actually being at the site of the situation, many people formulate opinions which may be incorrect or not fully developed.  

Trump’s recent declaration of a national emergency to combat what he calls a ‘crisis at the southern border’ has added to the divide between students at DHS.  Many believe that Trump is fabricating the situation to deliver on a campaign promise.

When asked if they believe there is a border crisis, Stewart said, “No, immigration is going down, but there is a crisis because we will not let immigrants into the United States.” While some believe Trump is creating the national emergency in its entirety, others believe that the crisis is due to the lack of immigration into the US.

“If you don’t think there is a border crisis or a need for more border security, you are either lying or being lied too,” Wade said.  The feelings of this student are very strong as he points to lies being spread by varying news networks in an attempt to bash the President and his policies.  

Normally, DHS on any given day is filled with its ups and downs anywhere you look.  It is a place of learning and is usually filled with it every day that passes. But, when many people disagree on things, and there is no useful rhetoric being used to solve these issues, the learning is compromised in the school.  The number one priority of school is to give students a place of learning and that is being threatened.


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