Being other in West Linn


Kara Steinberg

Steinberg carries a representation of her faith with her every day in the form of her Star of David.

Strolling past the tables in student street, the silver Star of David, dangling around my neck, appeared a foreign object to the Christian students that crowded the halls alongside me.

West Linn High School’s student body is home to the stereotypical: Caucasian, middle class, Christian. Those that fit into this frame, don’t take the time to consider the feelings of people that do not fit into the perfect mold of a West Linn student.

Per my knowledge, I am one of few devoted, Jewish students.

Surrounded by very dedicated Christians, I observe clubs and activities that reserve time for Christian prayer and worship.

Every week, students file into Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), or Fellowship for reserved time to study the Bible, and pray together as a community. However, nowhere are other faiths recognized or given a space to come together and pray during school hours.

There are many ways to include other faiths and unite students. In order to create an inclusive student body, everyone needs to feel recognized.

A student-led, religious equality club, could help solve feelings of exclusion or forbiddance of a certain religion. Having a club discussing other religious perceptions may benefit students and help them realize that the major religions aren’t all that different. Finding commonalities would be a way to include everyone and make sure all students feel accepted and represented.

School is a time to learn about subject matter that is not connected to religion. If we are going to reserve a time to pray during our week, the least we can do is make sure everyone has a place in which they feel part of a community. Although it is important that our Christian students are able to practice their religion, it is important that people from all different religions are represented.