Twitter, respect, and our First Amendment

Printed on every copy of the Spectrum, it is stated that the Spectrum is an open forum for the free exchange of views and ideas. Along with publishing newsworthy articles, special features, and captivating comics, the Spectrum more often than not has multiple articles that include the word opinion under the byline. Without a doubt, opinion pieces are the most abundant articles found in the Spectrum, and are probably the most talked about.

The reason opinion articles are so well liked could stem from the idea that in today’s society, people are drawn to controversy, and opinions can definitely add fuel to the flames. Although we may not like what others have to say, we will still read their articles because we enjoy the idea that they can be challenged and proven wrong.

On Tuesday, October 15, an article titled “Dear Seniors: From the underclassmen” was published. Responses and feedback over the article circulated the school throughout the week and opposition toward the article could be heard in whispers down the hallways and could be read all over Twitter feeds. An article meant to be lighthearted turned into a controversy between the upper- and lowerclassmen that was clearly seen on social media. We were not expecting upperclassmen to take offense to the article as much as they did, especially when the intent was for it to seem humorous.

Social media has played an important role in our lives in more ways than we have realized. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed us to exercise one of our most basic liberties, our freedom of speech, more than we have ever been able to before. On several occasions after political debates, different opinions and points of views flooded these sites, allowing followers and friends to see exactly where you stood on the issue.

Posting something damaging or negative on social media does not mean that you have won the debate, are correct, or that justice has been served.”

Posting something damaging or negative on social media does not mean that you have won the debate, are correct, or that justice has been served. Stating your position on these sites can be a good thing, because it shows you are aware that your voice has every right to be heard as well. However, spiteful and unkind statuses can sting, especially when worded in a way that allows readers to assume who the statuses are directed at.

After the article was published last week, many DHS students went to Twitter posting about their frustrations with the article and their opinions.  The four girls who wrote the advice article were not trying to start a debate, but instead were trying to convey in a humorous manner how underclassmen feel during the first few weeks of high school.

Whether the writers achieved this goal or not, the fact of the matter is, the article was their opinion. Some of the statements students made in response to the article prove that being tolerant of other people’s opinions is a challenge for many. Voicing your opinion is something the Spectrum applauds; however, the issue was blown out of proportion due to what students were posting on social media sites.

Writing for the school newspaper takes a great deal of confidence since a good proportion of the school will read it. Although students may disagree with the contents of the article, the fact that underclassmen were able to write it is very noteworthy. We want to encourage both under- and upperclassmen to participate in the Spectrum because more members provides us with a larger voice for our school.

Although many asked for a rebuttal to the article, we have decided to close the debate since a debate was not its original purpose. We thank those who sent in a letter to the editor about the topic because it allows us to understand how others may be feeling; we hope this piece serves as the appropriate response.

As for the very much talked about senior skit debate that has also been circulating the school through rumors, although the writer was very much willing and ready to publish the article, as an editorial staff we decided not to publish to prevent backlash on social media that could be potentially worse than the backlash that came with the advice article.

Opinion articles will continue to be found in the Spectrum. The ideas that come with freedom of speech are wonderful and are the very foundations of our newspaper.

Also stated in every issue, opinions expressed in the Spectrum do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial staff or DHS. This means we must understand that people will have different opinions than our own.  We must find common ground and agree that even if we don’t concur on certain opinions, we must respect what others have to say.