Scarborough students shifting classroom conversation towards U.S. politics
Published Friday, January 20, 2017 7:31PM EST
A group of high school students in Scarborough gathered around a television in their Grade 12 philosophy class to watch history unfold on Friday.
Since school began in September, this group of students had shown a particular interest in the race for U.S. presidency following up to the election of President Donald Trump.
Permell Ashby, the students’ philosophy teacher, told CTV News Toronto that although it is a philosophy class the students have led the classroom conversation towards politics south of the boarder.
Ashby said the students are aware of what is going on and they have formed their own opinions that they want to discuss.
“They’re reading (about the U.S. election) from their phones and they’re seeing it on the news and they come to class with questions about citizenry,” Ashby said. “So, about 10 minutes of each class we devote to just talking about things that are happening in this world.”
Ashby said although it’s not directly a philosophical topic, it matches up with her teaching the students to be citizens of this world and critical thinkers.
Leading up to inauguration day, Ashby said her students would come to class with their own thoughts about the election.
One of her students, Kanishka Sikri, said she was heartbroken by the results because of a personal connection.
“When I found out (that Trump won the election) I was in Dubai because that’s where I was born,” Sikri said. “It’s a predominately Muslim country and when we first came from there it was easy for us. To know that it might be hard for others to come from there now, that’s really sad to me.”
As the students watched President Donald Trump be sworn in at the White House on Friday morning, others had some concerns of their own.
Another Grade 12 student Isobel Carrington said the events Friday go against what she was taught as a child.
“As a kid I’ve learned that being respectful, respecting your elders, people around you, and different religions and races was really important and (Trump’s) just not doing that so it’s surprising,” Carrington said.
“I’m worried about the future but at the same time I think he might surprise us,” she said.
The students, including Christian Vazquez, said they wouldn’t have chosen the new president themselves but they are willing to give him a chance.
“All we can do right now is just hope for the best,” Vazquez said. “I mean we’re in the ship right now and he’s piloting it and we don’t want the ship to sink.”