Counterpoint: Do Schreiber students segregate themselves?

Sydney Kass, Staff Writer

With more students becoming politically engaged and socially aware, high schoolers have begun to apply “real world” issues to their personal situations.  A trend has arisen in which students test the validity of current topics being debated in government and politics in school and their own lives to see if they apply to the classroom.  As a result, the question of whether or not Schreiber students are self-segregated is playing a more prominent role in everyday conversation.

Self-segregation is the social exclusion or separation of a religious, ethnic, or racial group of people from the rest of society at the group’s discretion.  This definition simply is not characteristic of the Schreiber student body, as Schreiber friendships are not segregated.  Students who associate with different religious, ethnic, and racial groups deal with one another inside and outside of the classroom.

Evaluating this question in 1997, senior Lonnie Saunders wrote in the Schreiber Times, “When I sit down to force feed myself, I take a look at the cafeteria and focus in on each area. It reminds me of my food; not because I don’t like the food but because almost everything is set separately.”

However, a lot has changed since Saunder’s high school days.  Schreiber has evolved, and its students are no longer self-segregated.  Stop and take a moment in the hall or at the lunch table to just observe.  You’d first notice students sitting, eating, smiling, and laughing with one another.  At the same time, you’d see that these friendships are between students of different ethnicities and races.  This demonstrates the diversity of students, which is the opposite of what Saunders was describing when he believed Schreiber was segregated.

The statement made by a member of the class of 97’ is a clear representation of the progress that Schreiber has made in the direction of diversity, inclusion, and a sense of community between all members of the student body. 

“It’s not really segregated – this school is pretty diverse,” said junior Alexa Adjudanpour.

Of course some students do experience or notice the presence of self-segregation, but this is to be expected.  The statement that Schreiber is not self-segregated is a generalization that is mostly true, and there will always be some exceptions to any generalization.

“It’s [self-segregation] not true for everyone — it just happens to be true for some people,” said junior Molly Solomon.

The few self-segregated groups do not characterize the many self-integrated and diverse friendships at Schreiber.  Just because groups of self-segregated students do exist does not mean that Schreiber can or should be considered segregated.

“All my friends are really different,” said junior Ryan Nachman.  “I am friends with people of all different religions and races, and it makes school better.  I don’t see segregation being present at Schreiber, and I don’t think it’s a problem to worry about.”

Furthermore, Schreiber’s “self-segregated” population may simply be misnamed–it’s quite possible that they are just socially unaware and do not notice the ethnic, racial, or religious monotony of their friendships.  Moreover, the small amount of self-segregation that may seem to occur may be mischaracterized as self-segregation because the definition of the word states it to be “at the group’s discretion.”  When the group unknowingly becomes uniform in religious or ethnic characteristics, it does truly embody the principles of self-segregation. 

“People don’t exclude each other.  They just fall into groups of people that are the same race or religion because they can relate to each other in ways that other people can’t,” said Solomon.

If the “self-segregated” acknowledged the lack of diversity within their own social circles, they might expand their horizons and go out of their way to meet new students from different backgrounds.  In other words, the “self-segregated” are really the “socially unaware.” 

Segregation is not a good thing, but diversity is.  There is a beauty in being different and sharing culture with others, and community is better fostered by not limiting friendship by race, religion, or ethnicity.  The majority of students know this, though, as we can see it in their smiles and hear it in their laughs shared with varied types of people.  Segregation is not an epidemic hitting the halls of Schreiber High School.  Schreiber is a model high school in terms of creating a student community in which people believe in different religions and come from from different backgrounds and still come together in the cafeteria and on the weekends.