Teenagers Seeking Understanding of New York High School Students’ Perspectives on the Recent Conflict

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Varied Reactions and Reflections on War Events

MESA Charter High School’s students, diverse and working-class, encountered unease amid the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas. Aisaac, a junior, shares his caution after a pro-Palestinian march, highlighting the impact on daily life. The war’s comprehension is filtered through their phones, with Jordi expressing the emotional weight of distressing images.

Conversations about the conflict in classrooms, among friends, and even at home were scarce. O., a tenth-grader, notes a decline in discussions within her Jewish friend group. When discussed, she finds herself defending Israel but grappling with moral questions about its actions. Satchel, a pro-Palestine student organizer, feels a sense of isolation in his activism, contrasting it with the perceived detachment of his peers.

Student Activism Amid Political Awareness

Satchel’s activism extends to organizing a student walkout, though he observes mixed responses. While hundreds participated, some used it as an opportunity to skip school. The rise of Islamophobia, symbolized by a swastika near Friends Seminary, adds a layer of fear for Zaina, a junior and Muslim student leader.

Aviyah, a senior leader of the Jewish culture club, reflects on her contradictory thoughts about the conflict. Students like Zaina and Aviyah turn to their respective communities, attending open learning sessions and religious services for support amidst the fast-paced and bewildering developments.