There is a sense of exhilaration anyone will experience when they receive a position of power. However, there is as potent a crash when it is realized that this position of responsibility is merely a facade, another superficial accolade to add on to the schools outstanding resumé. We, speaking both as a paper and on the behalf of the student body, are jolted by the realization that much of we do is not of importance to the administration. Any call to action is a call to the deaf: We are seldom given the opportunity to realize our visions.
An email recently sent out by Principal Jack Phillips praised The Standard for being awarded a silver crown by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and for its role within the ASL community. In the email, Phillips used the word “voice” to describe The Standard’s role within our high school. Yet, when scouring for instances in which The Standard, or any other student group for that matter, has had its voice heard, scarcely any come to mind.
We have seen limited administrative response to any of our five editorials published this past year. If the administration genuinely believes The Standard is the High School community’s voice, why is that voice so naïvely, or perhaps autocratically, silenced? We have put forth ideas in consolidating our community – denied –, we have asked for a more level academic field at ASL – dismissed –, we made a clarion call to reconfigure our core values – has it even been given a proper obituary? In fact, the administration directly contradicted what we articulated in our March/April issue editorial: We logically and tangibly suggested a reconfiguration of the core values and yet, with no word or response from the administration regarding the editorial, the high school was shown a video in which students incessantly articulated their respect and love of the core values. The New Frontiers campaign video wasn’t necessarily a message to The Standard, but it certainly showed no regard to what had been written.
Additionally, the Student Council has blamed the majority of their faults on internal problems, such as dedication and work ethics of their constituent members; but this surely cannot be the sole reason for their lack of productivity this year. It is no Newtonian claim to say that with more leeway or power from the administration, the Student Council would altogether have more impact on the high school. Spirit rallies and weenie roasts are a good step forward in community building, and so is the recent initiative spearheaded by Principal Jack Phillips and the Student Council – but this is not enough and must be built upon.
Almost alone in a category we shall label “Important Student Contributions” is the role students played in deciding new members of the faculty, which is one to praise; it is a risk to include student perspective in a decision that holds so much gravitas, yet the students demonstrated the maturity and intelligence to take on such a responsibility. But rather than cutting our stay short, so to say, let this exemplary illustration of student capability have a long-lived legacy rather than be a one-hit-wonder.
The administration has a consequential decision to make in the upcoming weeks, months, and years, in deciding whether their power will remain concentrated in the hands of a few administrators or whether it will trickle down to the students.
Along with this, the Student Council, Student Faculty Disciplinary Board, The Standard, and clubs, must unite to push for increased awareness and responsibility from the administration. Unless student groups are united together, the necessary progress will be impossible to achieve.
As the administration tries to create its own utopian community, it often oversteps itself. When this happens, and student voice is silenced, the administration denies the students the responsibility and power provided and promised in their organizations and positions. From this, the development of abilities of paramount importance to a student’s growth, in acting independently and thinking critically, are almost throttled. When the school silences this voice it can lead to a perilous path which would lead the school’s graduates hopelessly unprepared for life after ASL.