Las Vegas Sun

April 18, 2014

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Sun Youth Forum:

Teenagers split on many issues

While one half of a group of teenagers Tuesday said the U.S. should keep its nose out of Central America and said Nevada should allow all women the right to abortion, the other half bluntly disputed those concepts.

The 30th annual SUN Youth Forum brought together 700 different ideas of students from high schools throughout Clark County, with discussions resulting in resolutions to improve state and federal laws, change social mores and ease racial and economic tensions.

Students spoke, sometimes vehemently, with each other under the supervision of guest moderators including Gov. Richard Bryan, state Sen. James Billbray, Assemblyman Bob Price and School District Zone Director Paul Goodwin.

The students represented conservative, liberal, undecided and middle-of-the-road opinions. sometimes causing friendly arguments in discussion groups.

“If I kill someone, they should kill me,” said Clark High senior Michael Giles during a discussion on “Law and Crime.” Saudi Arabia has a system of laws that are simple - you steal something, they cut off your hand. You lie, they cut your tongue out. I need something to tell me that if I commit a crime I’ll be punished.”

Giles said he had friends who had been placed in rehabilitation programs after committing crimes, adding they were examples of a juvenile justice system that needs reform.

Bonanza senior Mike Tucker said the “eye for an eye” philosophy won’t work in this country, but added the U.S. has developed an ironic admiration for criminals.

“In American culture we have glorified the image of the criminal,” he said. “And cops are seen as fascist pigs beating hippies’ heads in.”

One student finalist from each of the seven groups was chosen to write “Where I Stand” columns for the SUN, to start after Dec. 16. Another seven were selected by their peers to give statements on KLAS-TV Channel 8 starting at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 14.