Over the past few months, politicians such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Ned Lamont have visited O.H. Platt High School in Meriden to use us, the student body, for their own political gain. We have not been able to thoroughly voice our concerns to these politicians, and we have been removed from the discussion, despite being used to propagate their careers.

Recently Gov. Lamont came to Platt to lecture the student body about all the of the work they have been doing in Hartford to mitigate the vaping and tobacco epidemic across our state. While many of my peers see this as an issue, it’s not the issue we want to talk about.

Climate change is the biggest threat to our generation, and to all future generations to follow. Our politicians, from the local representatives, to the state legislature, and all the way to Congress, have ignored our concerns.

We have written emails, left voicemails, marched in rallies, but to no avail. Many students from Platt and Maloney have asked our state representatives to do something about the climate crisis, yet we have received no answers, no responses, no action.

We are deeply concerned about our futures, and we are constantly told by our representatives that they care about the youth, yet they so blatantly ignore us on the issues that really matter. If they come to our school, and use us as a tool to further their agendas and their careers, but do not even listen to our concerns, then who are they really representing?

No one from the student body asked Gov. Lamont to come to Meriden, yet he did. He tried to ignore the questions we asked him, repeatedly stepping away from the podium, and gave nonsensical answers to simple questions. We will not stand to just be puppets for politicians who think they can use us for their own interests, but not even bother to hear ours. We felt like nothing more than cardboard cutouts in a room full of people who liked how we looked for the cameras, but not what we had to say.

Climate change is by far the number one issue for my peers and me, but no one from the state is coming to Platt or Maloney to talk about the issues we are concerned with. We asked for policy change, not photo ops. We simply want our voices to be heard, and our concerns to be met.

Daniel Hand of Meriden is President of his high school’s environmental club.

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5 Comments

  1. Thank you for speaking up, Mr. Hand. I have a feeling you wouldn’t see them around anymore now. Senator Blumenthal is notorious for photo ops. Good job asking the Governor questions you wanted to ask despite the quality of answers you received.
    Make your concerns known to your school administrators and Board of Education as well. Platt has a long history of student activism; good to see it continues.

  2. Whether I agree with your opinion//agenda or not, at least you have realized that politicians–especially Democrats and especially in this State–love to use students and children as ‘human shields.’ I know we get that tactc at least EVERY budget time.

  3. Fine letter. Gov. Lamont needs to step up on environmental issues. A few months ago he took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new fracked gas burning plant in Bridgeport that will send over a million tons of CO2 into the air a year. Now he’s silent about another fracked gas plant that’s planned for northeast CT (Killingly). Lamont should be shamed into stopping that plant. He has the power to stop its construction. The planned Killingly monstrosity will spew two million tons of CO2 into the air each year. We’re running out of time, folks, less than 11 years before we risk going over the tipping points that all major climate scientists warn about. Join up with Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion, 350CT and Promoting Enduring Peace.

  4. Good to see a student cares about the climate. How about the rest of the story? When politicians use underage people for their political gain, where are the parents? Where is the school board? Where is the superintendent? Where was the principal? If that was a republican showing up without an invite, there would be a different outcry from students and administration.

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