Written by: 2017 SMN staff
If you are going to treat high school students like elementary school students, at least give us the recess time we’ve earned.
School is meant to be business environment and should be treated as such. We come to school every day to learn and to teach. We, along with many others, have been in this district for as many as 12 years. The teachers here have never failed to prepare the student body for our future as best as they could.
However, if you still think you need to teach 17-year-olds how to use the bathroom “safely,” then we think you’ve missed your mark.
Dr. Tracy Platt is a brilliant woman with many great ideas. Whether those ideas are suitable for meeting the needs of high school students is questionable. Last Thursday, Aug. 17, she and the administration delivered the first part of their plan to unify the classes and build student culture, by having all students, freshman and seniors alike, go through behavior plans for every area in the school in a lecture that lasted the entirety of the school day.
Platt’s plan, while sound for elementary students, seemed extremely demeaning to the majority of students. The student body is made up of many bright young minds that almost always exhibit good behavior in their classes. In Thursday’s lectures, presentations were delivered with poorly written skits and condescending chants focused on correcting bad behaviors that the vast majority of students have never had issues with. The entire school was punished for the actions of a select few students. It was clear that the students that needed these lectures the most were the ones that were not paying attention.
Students were told to discourage bad behavior in their peers with the phrase “we don’t do that here.” Unfortunately, this phrase immediately became a joke among students. When it has been used around the school, it is accompanied by a sarcastic tone, ultimately making it ineffective.
Dress code, along with other things such as bathroom and hallway procedures, was a topic reviewed with students.
“Raise your hands, touch your toes. If anything shows, change your clothes.” We completely agree with the dress code policies. Students here, both male and female, should hold themselves to the highest standards. But being required to recite this chant has been one of the most humiliating experiences we have witnessed in our time in this district.
On Wednesday, Aug. 23, another new policy was introduced during Warrior Time classes: the PBIS system, explained as “Positive Behavior and Supports at Smithville High School.” In this system, students will be rewarded for positive behaviors by being given tickets that are redeemable for prizes.
Sound familiar? This policy was also implemented in grades 3-5 in elementary school.
The PBIS strategies have been proven to work. However, now that all students know that teachers are instructed to complement them constantly, things seem significantly less sincere. Kids feel as if they are being mocked by the required positive reinforcement. These strategies were not only used on us when we were children, but they were implemented at the high school by showing videos in Warrior Time classes that were meant for elementary school aged children.
As mentioned before, school is a business environment. We should respect our peers, teachers and administrators just as we would coworkers and bosses in the work field. Nevertheless, high school students cannot be treated like third graders while being expected to act like adults. We ask, as students, please do not bribe us to behave well with tickets and compliments. Instead, consider this: level with us. Reward us for things we deserve to be rewarded for, such as GPA or low absences and tardies. All we ask for is the level of respect that would be given to the proper adults you want us to be.