by Elijah Johns | staff writer
With the looming presidential election coming November 8th, tensions are high between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Many seniors on campus are voting for the first time this election and have noticed the atmosphere changing at school.
“I think this election has changed everyone’s views of voting this year. With it being so crazy, a lot of people want to get in on the fun. This has been a really entertaining political season,” senior Colton Barnes said.
While some people have indulged themselves in the political conversations, other students have stayed away from the situation.
“This election has made me not care for the election. I don’t care either way. Both sides seem bad to me,” senior Cade Moon said.
Since this is the first time these students are voting for a major election, they have developed their views from a variety of different sources.
“I developed my political opinions from a lot of places. Like anyone else, I got a lot of my early ideas from my parents,” senior Magda Harden said. “But as I grew up, social media, news, and education helped me to know more about the bigger issues we need to tackle and shaped my ideals.”
Because of the controversies that have followed this election, according to government teacher Patricia Castellanos, there has been a spike in political interest.
“Starting in the spring last year because of the primary elections, I noticed more interest in the political process with my students in general. So I think the students are more interested and engaged because they’re watching it happen live in front of them,” Castellanos said. “We did change the structure of the course so that our lesson on elections was taught before the primaries. The level of student interest is higher mostly because it is happening in real time.”
Social media has played a huge role within this election. Both candidates are frequently involved on Twitter to attract young voters.
“The first we saw of using social media to mobilize the grassroots was Obama. He was very successful with that and it helped him beat Hillary Clinton in 2008 in the primaries,” Castellanos said. “That was a long time ago so I think more people are getting their information through social media. The politicians have to utilize it and that’s how they’re going about it.”
According to section 13.046 of the Texas election code, all Texas public and private schools are required to pass out voter registration to any student 17 years and 10 months old. This law was passed in 1983, but has continued to help students register during school hours.
“We brought in registers once in the fall and once in the spring. We’re going to do one in May to get as many students as we can to get registered. We are also having a mock election on November 8th so we’re hoping that would do good for giving more information to the students,” Castellanos said.
Despite which side of the political spectrum students fall on, the political atmosphere has affected everyone.
“I think this election has become so controversial that it has reached everyone, even those who can’t vote. Everyone is willing to share their take on the issues. It’s noticeable that student are more involved now, whether they’re arguing with peers or learning in class,” Harden said. “I think it’s great too because people are getting more knowledge on the problems facing our country. I hope it will help people be more careful when choosing a candidate for when they can vote.”