These past few years have been tough for all. Our nation has been divided in an ugly way not seen in recent history – be it by politics or opinion.

Our friends and loved ones have faced isolation from a deadly virus.

The news has brought us George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, assault on our Capitol, shootings, a presidential election, accusations of widespread voter fraud, and much more.

Many of our children have lost out on in-person education. But they still have television and, unfortunately, social media.

Consequently – and hopefully with discussion with teachers and at home – they are well aware of what is going on in the world. And they have feelings and opinions.

This year the students at Oxford Hills Middle School decided to represent what they had lived through on the cover of their yearbook which is exactly what yearbooks are all about. The history of their school year.

The result was a beautifully rendered collage of all that has happened during their tenure at OHMS.

Sadly, it has caused a foofaraw that began at a school board meeting and has taken on life via social media.

Complaints that the cover is political are sad. It is not. Everything is simply fact. Everything represents what has happened in these children’s lives. Nothing represents an opinion, or a “side.” These things did happen.

Coronavirus is real. George Floyd did die under the knee of police officer. California has been devastated by fire. Our climate is suffering. Snapchat is a “thing.” Masks have been scientifically shown to protect from illness. There have been multiple protests. Black Lives do Matter (and yes, as does every life). Gender identity and sexual orientation is real.

Yes, we adults have turned these things into political weaponry but that does not negate the fact that all are real, have happened and all affect our children.

So kudos to the students who designed the Oxford Hills Middle School 2021 yearbook to honestly represent what they have lived through. And to the administrators who taught the students about free speech and allowed them to be heard. Proud of you!

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