PV students lack exposure to other walks of life

%28Left+to+Right%2C+Front+to+Back%29+Braxton+Farmer%2C+Brendan+Hills%2C+Shubahm+Chauhan%2C+Matt+Dresselhaus%2C+and+Eli+Loyd+hang+out+in+study+hall.+PV%27s+caucasian+to+noncaucasian+ratio+is+similar+to+the+group+of+students+in+this+photo+--+around+4%3A1.
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PV students lack exposure to other walks of life

(Left to Right, Front to Back) Braxton Farmer, Brendan Hills, Shubahm Chauhan, Matt Dresselhaus, and Eli Loyd hang out in study hall. PV's caucasian to noncaucasian ratio is similar to the group of students in this photo -- around 4:1.

(Left to Right, Front to Back) Braxton Farmer, Brendan Hills, Shubahm Chauhan, Matt Dresselhaus, and Eli Loyd hang out in study hall. PV's caucasian to noncaucasian ratio is similar to the group of students in this photo -- around 4:1.

Jackson Schou

(Left to Right, Front to Back) Braxton Farmer, Brendan Hills, Shubahm Chauhan, Matt Dresselhaus, and Eli Loyd hang out in study hall. PV's caucasian to noncaucasian ratio is similar to the group of students in this photo -- around 4:1.

Jackson Schou

Jackson Schou

(Left to Right, Front to Back) Braxton Farmer, Brendan Hills, Shubahm Chauhan, Matt Dresselhaus, and Eli Loyd hang out in study hall. PV's caucasian to noncaucasian ratio is similar to the group of students in this photo -- around 4:1.

Nate Martell and Jackson Schou

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Pleasant Valley students are blessed to have some of the finest academic programs and athletic opportunities throughout the state, but they are living their own pleasant life, far from that of the less fortunate. 

Students, parents and faculty live in their own little world. For many, they lack the conceptual understanding of being malnourished and unblessed. Although only a mile may separate PV from the nearest school district, there is a significant difference between PV and surrounding school districts.

PV was recently named the top school district in the state. This should be looked at with honor and admiration for the hard work and success of the students and faculty. But with all the recognition for this award, at what cost does it come with?

Perhaps the biggest distinction of PV’s wealth is the amount of students that receive free or reduced lunches. According to Niche, only 9.4% of students receive free or reduced lunch. This is exceptionally low in comparison to neighboring districts. 

The high amount of wealth throughout the district may make it easier “for students and staff to lose sight of those that are struggling,” stated choir director David Baxter. He expressed that while many students are fortunate, those less fortunate cannot be overlooked.

The next lowest is Bettendorf, at 34.5%, quite far away from Pleasant Valley–a little more than 1 in 3 students. But then Davenport Community School District is brought into the picture, which provides 65.1% of students free and reduced lunch.

These differences in just the amount of kids able to pay for lunch shows an astounding juxtaposition. Many Pleasant Valley students would have trouble understanding being in a tight financial situation. For example, during the Student Hunger Drive, kids are rewarded for bringing in donations for the less fortunate. After all, how can one expect kids to bring in cans if they do not understand what it is like to lack a proper food source?

There is not only a lack of financial diversity at PV but also a lack of racial diversity. When compared to Bettendorf and Davenport schools, PV has the highest percentage of white students and the lowest percentage of African-American and Hispanic students. 77.8% of the Spartan population is white, while only holding a 2.7% African American population and 5.1% Hispanic population, the lowest out of the other two districts. 

Because of this, one could say PV students don’t have proper exposure to racial diversity. Adolescents need to be exposed to all walks of life; diversity allows people to understand different views of life throughout the world. 

The high school does make an effort to ensure diversity within its student and staff body. A diversity committee was created with the goal of letting students and staff know they are welcomed and understood. “We just want to meets the needs of all students with different identities and backgrounds,” said Baxter.

Exposure to various ethnicities and backgrounds allows students to empathize with those they share less in common. The more that people can study and understand each other’s differences, the more easily they can realize how similar they are. In a world full of war and chaos, there is almost nothing more important than to embrace and invite diversity into the community.