The definition of respect is changing, and it is not for the better



Iowa governor Kim Reynolds addresses PVHS during an assembly on Oct. 15.

Erika Holmberg, Copy Editor

Since Kindergarten, students at PV are taught to follow the pillars of character throughout adolescence and beyond. Unfortunately, the application of these principles is slowly diminishing at the high school level.

The value of respect, in particular towards authoritative figures by high school students, has been misconstrued by many after an unlikely encounter at PVHS.

On Oct. 15, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made an appearance at PVHS to congratulate both staff and students for the honor of earning the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award, in addition to presenting Sara Russell with the Iowa Teacher of the Year Award.

For such a tremendous honor, Reynolds’s introduction to the stage was not greeted kindly, as many students mocked and booed her as she entered the stage.

Regardless of Reynolds’s political affiliation, the blatant disrespect directed towards her honorary presentation was disheartening.

As a Blue Ribbon school planted in the fundamentals of inclusion and exemplary learning, how is such behavior permitted without consequence?

The answer lies in the shifting definition of respect at the high school level.

“The idea that everyone has a voice has been more accepted and taught in modern society compared to the past, leading to young people not blindly respecting figures of authority,” expressed senior Arsh Manazir.

The power of speech certainly cannot and should not be suppressed, but when taken too far, change in society might not be very productive.

This problem isn’t just a one-way street, either, as the same argument can be made for the opposite party as many schools chant the derogatory phrase “F Joe Biden” at school-sanctioned football games.

Acts such as these only advance the idea that upholding respect towards anyone, no matter who they are, is a fundamental principle that must be held to a higher standard.

As direct acts of disrespect and hate have shown signs of increasing, many have been led to question where this vulgar behavior comes from.

Perhaps this is not the fault of students as much as it is the changing belief of what respect truly means.

Each generation of students grows up in a world that is often entirely different from the generations preceding them. Discipline, communication and tolerance are a few ideas that often change the most.

As these principles are constantly changing for the worse, the lack of respect seen in high schoolers has plagued universities as well.

Iowa State University freshman and PV graduate Sam McGrath sees the issue of disrespect on a larger scale in college. “College is a place where it is really easy to be outspoken about your political views,” he stated. “There are so many clubs you can join that align with your values which can really heighten the hatred seen across campus.”

As students grow throughout high school and beyond, there needs to be an act of reform in the student curriculum that promotes respectful behavior and the concept of “agreeing to disagree.”

“People should understand that their opinion is not the only valuable one, and enter discussions with an open mind. Opposing ideas should not be discounted without consideration,” suggested Manazir.

Students’ voices must be heard, but productive conversations can only start with respect. Respect is a universal sign of human decency, and it is time to start holding each other accountable.