10th Grade Student’s Response to Personal Project Controversial News Story

The following opinion piece was submitted by 10th grade student Alyssia Cisneros in response to a CBS DFW news story called “Parents Upset Elementary Students Taught Inappropriate Topics”. The story was about 10th grade Personal Project Exhibitions here at Imagine on March 23. You can view the article here: http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/03/25/parents-upset-elementary-students-taught-inappropriate-topics/.  

My name is Alyssia Cisneros and I am a 10th grader at Imagine International Academy of North Texas and, in response to this CBS news story, I would like to share an alternate perspective as a student who has been working on this project for many months. I’d like to start off by saying that I have no regrets about the topic I chose for my personal project, which was divorce and its effect on children. Students are asked to choose something that we are passionate about. Some chose cooking, creating a video game, & even football, but divorce is what I am passionate about, passionate enough to plan on devoting my whole life to helping children, teens & families get through divorce by becoming a counselor.

Divorce affects so many people around the globe in so many ways and it should not be ignored. I chose this topic because I can see the impact it has had on people around me, and on exhibition night,  I know for a fact that I helped a lot of students by bringing awareness to the implications. It warmed my heart to know that students were putting trust in me and telling me about their own experiences, and to negate all of that in this article broke it.

To speak up for the others who were targeted, the other issues people did their projects over were just as important as mine was. One student did her project over her experience being transgender, and that took courage. Transgender rights are a huge issue, and it impacts a lot of people deeply. Mental illnesses, namely depression, which another student did her project over, is equally serious. These issues are real and they’re not going away, and as students who took initiative to try to bring light to them, why are we under fire?

No one will be able to keep their child “innocent” in the world we live in today because let me tell you, we do not live in a perfect one. Divorce, being transgender, & depression are not jokes & certainly are not things to be kept in the closet. This article was very disrespectful to anyone who has gone through these things, & even the students who took weeks to ensure that their projects were exemplary.

These are real problems in the world today & being the next generation, we need to be well aware of them. Our supervisors took weeks out of their busy schedules to make these projects look amazing & they succeeded. One thing that was also left out of that news story was that our head supervisor assigned the younger kids to certain projects, so that students were only allowed to view age-appropriate material.

IB students are taught to be open-minded, international-minded, and aware of these types of issues throughout the program & if any parent believes otherwise, then maybe their kid does not belong in a program like this. The 10th grade Personal Project exhibition was full of students who are learning to take topics that they have an interest in and turn those topics into something bigger. We are raising awareness, solving problems, showing alternate perspectives. While I understand that there are some topics that are heavier than others and that parents should have the right to introduce them to their children, the level of scrutiny in this case was the only thing that was “inappropriate.”

In no way, shape or form do the opinions expressed in this article reflect the opinions of Imagine International Academy of North Texas or the Rising Dragon News publication. Student writers are encouraged to use the ‘Opinion’ section of our publication as a platform to speak their voices and publish their work.


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