Opinions World Issues, Campus Views

Civil discourse in classrooms necessary for individual, societal growth

By Lennon Audrain ’17
Special to THE ROUNDUP

You can often hear students discussing very real, social issues with friends and fellow classmates in the corridors and classrooms of campus.

The very culture of Brophy promotes civil discourse as an opportunity for individual and societal growth, and that, arguably, is what makes Brophy one of the most unique educational institutions in the Valley (next to its stellar curriculum).

Recently, House Bill 2120 has appeared in the 53rd Legislature’s first regular session down at the Arizona Capitol. This bill would “prohibit courses, classes, and events” that “promote division, resentment or social justice toward a race, gender…or any other class of people” in public and charter high schools, community colleges, and state universities.

The consequences of allowing the instruction of such courses or events to take place include a 60-day probationary measure and a 10 percent monthly deduction of apportionment if, within the 60 days, the course is not aligned with the requirements of the bill.

And, since the examination of the “prohibited course and event curricula” is left up to the superintendent of public instruction and the state board of education, there are only up to 11 people in the state who are able to determine if the coursework is questionable or not, leaving very limited interpretations to be made.

While this bill may not affect Brophy, public and charter school students should be afforded the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about very real issues, including racism, poverty, the achievement gap and other inequities that plague our society today.

Without communication, reparations to any relationship cannot be made and problems continue to fester.

Even the Ancient Greeks and Romans knew the key to successful problem solving was communication, so they taught their students rhetoric skills. By prohibiting these meaningful discussions within public and charter institutions about certain groups, our communication as a society about “questionable” historical events and their impact on modern society remain motionless.

Civil discourse is something that, as humans, is an invaluable trait we ought to use to solve our problems and conflicts. By prohibiting certain topics from being discussed, especially in our public institutions, we stifle our growth as individuals and a society.