Political Perspectives of Shaker Students


Solomiia Valihunda, Website Manager

On November 3rd, the very memorable election day, The Shaker Bison sent out a school-wide Google form to get a better understanding of where our school community stands on a spectrum of topics, ranging from which characteristics of a president do they value the most, and which issues are most vital to them. 

This year has been more than unusual, to say the least, and on top of it all, the election has had everyone at the edge of their seats for months. It’s no surprise that this poll prompted a surge of opinions from students — some fiery opinions, some witty jokes, some dry remarks, but overall a great insight into the minds of Shaker students. 


There are many opinions circling Shaker High School, students supporting different candidates and different ideologies, but regardless of who they might support there are some commonalities in qualities that are important in the leader of a country. Out of 285 responses collected, 161 responded with “Leadership” as the most important, 154 with “Intelligence,” and 148 with “Common Sense.” Those are some crucial qualities of a president, 


who does after all have to lead a country and not destroy it in the process. Being able to lead a country is quite literally what being a leader is; it’s important to know how to be someone that people will want to follow and work with. They also have to be a leader that will do what’s best for the people and listen to their opinions, and like Shaker, students chose, be intelligent with common sense. These characteristics are especially important with the pressing threat of COVID-19 in America and all across the world.


Most important issues of Shaker Students

After a month of answers trickling in, a sizable portion of 285 students responded to the survey. One of the first questions focused on a list of issues; the students had to vote on each, and if they believed it was “Very important”, “Somewhat important” or “No opinion.” Healthcare came in the first place of importance and it’s easy to see why. The conversation about healthcare never ends, and looking to other countries that have free or much more affordable healthcare, people have realized how discriminatory and extraordinarily expensive America’s healthcare system is. 


Healthcare is also an important issue for students at the moment because as of June 12th, 2020 the Trump administration removed the protections for LGBTQ+ individuals against discrimination in receiving healthcare. It’s a huge hit on LGBTQ+ students and their allies at Shaker to hear that people’s rights are being taken away. No one should fear receiving help because there’s a chance that they will be discriminated against for their gender or sexuality. The LGBTQ+ community already receives degrading amounts of discrimination in healthcare, and it’s a hard blow when the only protections they had also got taken away. It’s especially difficult for trans individuals, 1 in 5 of which reported that they were discriminated against in a healthcare setting. But thankfully, the ban on rules against discrimination is being taken down and cities are once more being encouraged to set up new protections. The American healthcare system needs reform and Shaker students know this and understand that this is a topic that doesn’t need to just be talked about, but acted upon.


Continuing the importance of equal rights, 198 out of 285 students chose racial and ethnic inequality as one of the “very important” issues. This was further supported in the section that asked what other political views and or opinions students had, and a majority of the 125 individual responses mentioned either Black Lives Matter or something referring to their support of the fight for racial and ethnic equality.

The fight against racial inequality has been an issue for those present in 2020 and in the past for as long as anyone can remember. An immeasurable amount of people have felt the impact of racism and racial and ethnic inequality first hand. The BLM movement, founded in 2013 by three incredible female Black organizers, skyrocketed in the past few months. The movement has had (and continues to have) protest, petitions, fundraisers, and much more. More and more people come out and support it as they learn, and it’s incredible how much the younger generation has stepped up.  Kids and teenagers have joined the protests, students from Shaker included. At this point, some sources say that Black Lives Matter has become the biggest movement in American history. It grew increasingly popular throughout 2019 and 2020 and continues to grow to this day, even if the media stopped documenting it as much as they did last summer and late spring. Discussion of the issues of racial inequality spills from students’ mouths in daily conversations. There have been good and bad, and some of the most voiced opinions were of opposing sides, paired equally with fiery responses from others. Equality may be a touchy subject sometimes, but it is always important to remember that hearing both sides is of utmost importance. 

All of these movements tie into each other and they all focus on equality for everyone, which brings us to the third-place winner as the most important issue to Shaker students: women’s rights. 191 out of 285 responses marked women’s rights as a “very important” issue to them, as well as a large portion of individual written responses mentioned women’s rights in one form or another. Those responses focused on the issue of abortion and the fact that someone’s right to do what they want with their own body shouldn’t be a political issue. 

There were of course mixed responses from students, some also say that abortion is murder and or that they neither agree nor disagree with it. But overall most who mentioned abortion and women’s rights wrote passionately about it because after all, it is their own bodies being debated.