Concerned About Issues of Substance

Smoking Isn’t One of Them!

Concerned About Issues of Substance

At a January Third House forum in Elkhart, District 21 State Representative Tim Wesco addressed several Elkhart Central students who were in attendance. The following letter was drafted in response by Seniors Cristian De Santos Salazar and Robert Burnett Jr. and read in part to Mr. Wesco by ECHS English teacher Amy Stine at the Feb. 14 Third House forum. It is being presented here, with their consent, as a Student Editorial:


Dear State Representative Wesco,

First things first, we would like to thank you for taking time out of your day and coming to Elkhart for the Third House Meeting.

To begin with, we did not know that State Representatives held these types of meetings that allowed the things you are working with to be held publically. We were made aware of this meeting by my instructor in my U.S. Government class. Attending this meeting was not mandatory for a grade, but for extra credit. However, we did not go to this meeting just because my instructor offered our class extra credit. We wanted to come to this meeting to be informed of the things that are being worked on in our state.

We were flattered by the fact that you were pleased to see young faces at the meeting. However, one comment you made at the meeting that we highly were not pleased about was that the only legislation that you believed we cared about involved legalizing marijuana and the smoking age.

Therefore, we would like to inform you that we young people could honestly care less about these topics. At the end, what will it change? People will still somehow get their hands on cigarettes or marijuana and maybe, over time, pay the consequences. We feel like instead of worrying about things that people will still continue to do, focus on things that matter.

Education is a current problem. Teachers are not paid as much as they should be. They go through so much every day and even work after hours prepping for the next day or what they need to do to improve for their students. We also think that our state makes students test excessively. Elementary students should not have to sit in a room for hours taking a test. Also, high schools should not require students to pass a test to hold them back from graduating. That is unethical and sets students up to fail.  Our grades matter more.

Another problem we feel that should be addressed is low minority student achievement and we don’t feel the state is adequately helping schools improve things.  This will cost money, but all we see is money being taken away from schools. As minority students, we feel discouraged and given a lack of respect.

Once again, thank you very much for coming to the city of Elkhart. We look forward to connecting with you in the future.


Cristian De Santos Salazar & Robert Burnett Jr.