Sunday, October 23, 2011

Our Declaration of Independence

As the citizens of the United States of America, every citizen has his or her irrefutable rights. The citizens of Grosse Pointe South High School are mainly the students. We, as the students of Grosse Pointe South, have undeniable rights of our own. Grosse Pointe South High School is a school of outstanding rank. It could not have, however, come this far without some sort of enforcement throughout the school. The execution of rules, however, has rules itself. Rules must be fair and just- for all. However, the authoritarians at South have gone too far; not letting us be students. To be a student is to gain knowledge. A school is a house of knowledge, and must stay that way, especially for a high school. Our minds are at our sharpest in this schooling period, ready for the outside world. It must be a place where knowledge is easily accessible and readily available for the benefit of students. A school must be a safe environment for the children- who learns when they fear for their lives? And we must not be treated as if we are all the same little insignificant clones of adults. We are not! We are only alike in one way; as we all share being in the discomfited stage of adolescence. We are in-between the ways and personalities of a child and an adult.  However, contrary to belief, we do not act alike in anyway whatsoever. Each student is an individual, expressing his or her thoughts in our own, distinctive ways. Nevertheless, we are not allowed to express our true feelings in fear of the rules.  We, the students, have as an assembly, come to the conclusion that Grosse Pointe South High School must change its restrictions in order for the betterment of students, and comply with our indisputable liberties. 

I.         This school needs to give students a stronger voice. As of now, the students do not have a say in the rules and regulations, only teachers, staff, and the school board. We believe that if the students have more of a say in what is going on, then things would run more smoothly because they speak for all students at South. At our school there are many ways to get involved, however not for certain things that some kids are interested in! These include the following such as rules, attendance policies and many more. If the students were given a bit more of a voice, many would be satisfied with the new changes.

II.      This school needs to keep the school open all hours of the day. Students need snacks, drinks, and supplies for school at any instance of the school day. It would help kids tremendously because they would be prepared for each class if they needed something quickly. Since the school store is only open at lunch, most students only get food because it is time to eat. However, lunch is not the only time when kids are hungry. Students are all growing, and need the intake of food more than the average person. In the morning they may be very hungry as well, if they did not enjoy breakfast for fear of making it to school on time. Unfortunately, they do not have anywhere to get food in the seven minute passing time. Keeping the store open throughout the whole school day would help kids in many ways because they would be able to acquire food to fuel their bodies and minds, and school supplies if they are in need of them.

III.   This school has made tardy policy too strict. The teachers should give students a little more consideration, because South is a large school. Having a larger campus area means a longer distance to travel. In some classes, tardiness starts affecting your grade when it has nothing to do with your level of knowledge in that class. It should be changed so that if you arrive in the minute of the bell that you are not late. It is not fair, as getting from the previous class to the opposite end of the building in some situations is very difficult. In order to be on time, students may have to sprint there, which is infringing upon a different, reasonable rule. Students believe that if they are in the class close to the bell, it should not be counted against you.

IV.   This school, to also ratify the problem of tardies, needs to give students more time in between classes. 7 minutes is not sufficient for the length of our passing time. Students have a long way to travel from class to class. The extra time is a necessity. One of the main problem areas is the journey from the IA building to the S building. In fact, just approaching the IA building is an issue. There are many stairs that students must scale to reach their destination. Climbing stairs takes a lot of effort. 10 minutes would be an adequate amount for our passing time, and it would please everyone, even teachers, because we wouldn't be late as much.

V.     This school needs to let students use their cell phones more often. If they were, students would have fewer detentions because they would not be caught breaking an inconsequential rule.  Students have to avoid letting the teacher see them with their cell phones, regardless if they are being used or not. If cell phones were allowed during certain times, the number of detentions and punishments would decrease significantly. This would not only benefit the attendees of the school, but the staff as well. If there were fewer reports of students being reprimanded, out-of-town parents would notice and consider sending their children to South. Cell phones need to be allowed in the building during passing time, lunch, at the beginning or end of classes. Students need them to communicate with parents and friends for help, or for after school activities. Considering that more than three quarters of the school most likely has a cell phone, they should be allowed because they make students lives easier.

VI.      This school, overall, has issue with cellular devices. However, some sensible rules have been mandatory. Students are not allowed to use them during class time, which is logical. Using them during class takes time away from class, and understanding the content being taught is severely depreciated because of use. If this happens, teachers take the mobile away. However, the cell phone holding policy is unjust. The school has no right to keep any students cell phone past 24 hours.  This is critical, especially on a Friday, the end of the school week. The current policy is to hold it for 24 hours. However, the school isn’t open on the weekends, forsaking the owner of the phone without one. The major reason as to why teenagers have cell phones is courtesy of their parents. They are given in case of an emergency. Also, parents give it to their children to know where they are, at all times.  Students should get their phone back at the end of the school day.
VII.     This school needs to change its policy on school dances. Dances are of much importance to the student body. It is a night to celebrate. However, that cannot happen with the rules that are currently placed. The existing policy states that the doors to the dance close one hour into it and open only 30 minutes before it ends. Some students have other responsibilities that do not constrain to these time frames. Emergencies do not occur at specific times; they happen at random. If there is one, regardless of time, students should be allowed to leave as soon as possible. The dances are for the students. If a student happens to be uninterested in the events, they should be permitted to leave.

VIII.   This school has a grading system as such that a school year is split into quarters and two major exams. Grade points of students are calculated by the average of two quarters and one considerably weighted exam. However, the quarters have more influence than the exam. The quarter grade is derived from completion of homework and the grades received on exams in class. This being said, there should be time at the end of the quarter to make up work. All homework should be completed on time, but there are students that have a harder time turning work in because of personal reasons. Some students may have family issues, and focusing on school may be hard for them if they are in a similar situation. This change would not allow them to forgo their homework, but would help them with their grades, as report cards somewhat determine a student’s future.

IX.  This school should punish students fairly and justly. It is true- there are cases in which students need to be punished. If a student has disobeyed severely enough, they will be placed in an "In School Separation", or "ISS". It used to be that in ISS’s students could work on homework and assignments from their classes that they were separated from. Now, the school has become too strict. The offender must write a four-page essay during the day they are isolated from their fellow classmates. The essay serves no purpose whatsoever for the student's benefit. What would be beneficial to students is learning what they need too, just separate from their schoolmates. The point of school is learning, after all. 

X.  This school should not have the right to search the private property of students, such as cars or backpacks. Administrators have repeatedly violated the privacy of students by searching, most notably using drug dogs. Although lockers are the property of the school, backpacks are not. If the locker of a student does not contain any illegal substances or paraphernalia, the school should not be allowed to continue the search of that student's property. Another constant subject of searches are students' cars.  A car is the private property of its owner, and being parked on school property should still deny the right to search it without a warrant.

    We come to this school to learn, not to deal with these oppressive teachers and rules, which crush the basic rights of the children of Grosse Pointe South.  If students are not learning in this school then what is this place for?  Having power over these students, making money on the tyrannical government we call the administration?  Our school is made for the students, not the needs of the teachers or staff.  We need to have more say in this institution. We are the future, and make this school what it is.  If we do not receive these basic rights, then why still attend Grosse Pointe South? We will not come to a place in which we cannot learn.  What will it take for students to have an environment in which we can, and will learn? What will it take to have a school policy accepted by all, including staff and students? In order for this arrangement to happen, this school will have to make changes in many ways. Adjustments will have to be made; modest adjustments will take place, from basic changes in protocol, to larger adjustments, such as school wide enhancements.  Although it may not be easy, it will be done. Some of the reasonable complaints that need to be addressed can be fixed easily. If so, why are they not being addressed?  We will stand up for ourselves and express what will have to be done for the future of this world, because we, the students are the future and will not tolerate this lack of understanding anymore.  If we do not receive our freedom, we will leave this school until we possess it.

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