A recent controversy at Central High School concerning an article on the Black Lives Matter movement, published in the school newspaper, has caught the eye of many media outlets. The article, by Central senior Michael Moroz, was intended to address the protests and racial tension at the University of Missouri.
The opinion piece was published in the Centralizer's print edition the day before schools let out for winter break and was posted online a few days later. Students and alumni reacted online. Many denounced the language used to discuss the controversial topic as offensive.
A select group of students made inappropriate comments and the administration punished them for their actions. For Moroz’s safety, school security was increased, and many teachers addressed the situation by facilitating conversation within the classroom.
Though the threats were in no way justifiable, the conversation also needs to address the impact on Black students. Instead, it has become a story about moral intolerance and cyber-bullying.
One vital viewpoint on the topic has not been represented. Missing from the equation is the voice of the Black students -- the reason behind their outrage as well as their take on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Because the media failed to share the voices of the Black students, we decided to give that outlet to some Central students.
"I think the Black Lives Matter Movement gives a sense of hope for future equality and justice, despite the corrupt world we live in today and have been living in for some time," said Tori Williams, a senior.
“The Black Lives Matter movement gives us a voice in a country where we are continually oppressed. It's important to understand that Black lives matter, because for so long we have been treated as if we do not,” said Dylan Lewis, a sophomore.
This movement is a jumping-off point for the liberation of Black people everywhere. People reacted so fervently because of the deep connection they have to this movement, and the article felt like a step backwards. It was a reminder of what Black people have yet to achieve: respect. This story is much deeper than Moroz’s personal narrative.
Students used this controversy as a platform to start a healthy discussion about race and the Black Lives Matter movement. The school is now buzzing with ideas and plans to organize workshops, debates, and informational sessions and begin a conversation about Black Lives Matter.
Central, recently recognized as the most diverse public high school in the nation, is a place full of all different people from all walks of life. It is time to move forward in the discussion of this article. It’s time to change the conversation.
Kaila Caffey and Marcela Rolón Dow are students at Central High School.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.