OP-ED: The School Should Have Allowed Airing of the Inauguration

Without an Explanation, the District Announced that Teachers Would Not be Allowed to Show the Presidential Inauguration

Nevan Malwana, Editor in Chief, Senior

Wednesday, January 21 was a monumental day for the history of our nation as the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, was sworn into office. This peaceful transfer of power has been a cornerstone of our democracy for centuries, and the continuation of such at the beginning of every new administration is essential to ensure that this democracy will carry forth for centuries to come. This year ended up becoming one of the most tense transfers of power ever, with the entire country on edge following the riots at the capital just days earlier. The ability of our country to carry forth in this tradition is a true testament to our grit and determination as a people. Yet for some reason, PMHS barred teachers from showing this historical, and patriotic act in its schools, causing many, myself included, to wonder what message this sends to students.

In 2016 following former President Donald Trump’s victory in the election, despite the fact that many were disappointed with the result, both middle and high school teachers were allowed to air the inauguration of the president. In reality, this should be an issue with no one. Displaying a presidential inauguration is not in any way a form of political endorsement, rather it is a display of one of the most important principles of the American political system that all students should be aware of. In fact, schools should consider it their civic duty to educate students on presidential transfers of power. With all of the harsh language, violence, and contention around the election leading up to the inauguration, without being able to witness that American democracy is strong enough to survive it all, students may be left feeling as if the democratic ideals of their country that they have learned are simply a thing of the past.

Many feared that the inauguration this year could have been met with violence, perhaps the leading reason not to show the inauguration. There are a few issues with this train of thought.

First, security at this year’s inauguration was tighter than ever before. A whopping 26,000 troops were brought in to secure the proceedings as well as numerous fences, and barricades to ensure that everything ran smoothly. In fact, according to Reuters.com, by the end of the day, only one arrest had been made, a man who was carrying unloaded ammunition, compared to 217 arrests made during former-President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Next, even if there was a threat of violence, schools would be doing students a disservice by shielding them from the reality of America’s current political climate. Political violence is not a topic to be avoided by schools, but one to be confronted head-on. Discussing the factors that cause people to resort to political violence, as well as explaining America’s history with political violence and the innate wrongness in resorting to such methods, is important to raise a generation of responsible, civically aware citizens. Practically speaking, television stations air live TV with a slight delay behind the happenings, and especially this year, stations were likely ready at a moment’s notice to censor the broadcasts should the unthinkable happen.

Finally, in this time of great division in our country, airing the inauguration would have been a fantastic chance for schools to have a show of unity. Democrat or Republican, at the end of the day we are all Americans, and to deny students the opportunity to witness one of our most American of traditions is a proposition that at the end of the day is both impractical and dangerous to our way of life.