The Scary Truth in "The Politician"

From afar, Netflix’s popular new teen drama, The Politician, can seem like just that - an overly-dramatic teen drama. But let me tell you, there is a ridiculous amount of truth hiding in the show’s plotlines. It offers viewers a look into what is going on inside countless private high schools in the US, right under our noses.

No, I am not proposing that every uniform-sporting high school involves murder and Gwenyth Paltrow, but many of them do promote the amount of competition displayed in The Politician, which oftentimes leads to mental health issues and unhealthy competition among friends. Pitting children and young adults against themselves for the sake of greatness and rankings is something that happens at an alarming rate throughout the country. Overly competitive private high schools have the dangerous habit of pushing their students to the brink. Schools like the one displayed in The Politician, schools like the one that I went to, essentially focus on their students’ futures far more than how they are feeling in the moment.

The Politician tackles mental health issues that may seem unrealistic on the outside, but trust me when I say that today’s high school students feel such pressure to please their parents and to get into the best university possible, that they are willing to forfeit friendships and happiness to do so. No longer are kids allowed to be kids, but they are now forced to be pre-adults, putting them at risk for a whole host of mental health issues.

 

I’ll end on this note: Schools like the one in The Politician may be intense, stressful, and unnecessarily high-stakes. However, they do a great job of preparing their students for the work that will come to them in college and later in life, and do, truly, want the best for their students. My suggestions? Private schools and the students attending them need to take a couple of deep breaths, remember that it’s only high school, and maybe try something other than blazers.

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