By: Stella Strickland
Photo Credit: Buckl Architects
“Raise your hand if you feel you and your grade feel like a community.” This is how Mr. Yurchick started out the assembly for the freshmen two weeks ago. When the students looked around, we saw one, maybe two hands raised. Many people thought, including me, that the question about community would be pretty self-explanatory since I have heard countless people talk about how they “hate” their own grade level. Was it really a surprise when students acted the way they did during the assemblies held by Mr. Yurchick?
During the assemblies, Mr. Yurchick spoke about popular topics such as Safe-2-Say and the dress code. As I heard students walk in, everyone believed the assembly was going to be another drug, drinking, or behavior presentation. This was not the case, and as Mr. Yurchick brought up the topics of Safe-2-Say and dress code, students had strong opinions. These opinions were not always expressed in appropriate ways that day.
All of the grade levels reacted differently to the topics Mr. Yurchick spoke about, but the freshmen and sophomores reacted in similar ways. I heard Mr. Yurchick call on students with their hands raised, and every time another person spoke, they seemed to get more annoyed. Were they not getting the answers they wanted?
When a sensitive topic is spoken about, it is no surprise that people will have strong emotions. It is fine to be passionate about something, but not to present that passion in an aggressive and disrespectful way. I think that the topics Mr. Yurchick discussed should be talked about. But they should be spoken about in a professional manner, not yelling in an auditorium.
Mr. Yurchick expected some students to express their concern, but not in the way they did. He believes that as a whole everyone should learn how to express their opinions and disagreements in a more effective way. I think this is a fair statement; having the courage to speak up when there is an issue is an amazing skill, but doing it in an effective way is how to create change.
After talking to multiple students, the opinions of what went on at the meetings were very different. Some believed that the way their grade level reacted was very inappropriate considering he was speaking about issues that he had no intention of changing until a later date.
The juniors and seniors were more respectful during the assemblies; they sat and listened. They believe that what he said was repetitive and they have heard it before again and again.
A few freshmen and sophomores presented their concerns in a way that was not very effective. They began to shout out questions about the dress code like “Why can’t I show my shoulders?” and “Why are you dress coding so many girls?” These questions are extremely important to ask, especially when it is affecting a group of people directly. My point is, would you want to listen and make a change when someone is yelling at you? Most likely not.
By being able to express ourselves to administrators we can create the change we all desperately want with our school policies. Sometimes speaking directly out of anger and emotion can do more harm than good. To create change, everybody needs to be educated enough to come to an agreement; by being able to do that, our school can become the place everyone wants it to be.