Staff requests admin attitude adjustment

If the administration’s goal is to change our “rude” and “inappropriate” behavior, then the administrators themselves need to set a better example for students.

A few weeks after the administration addressed the issue of bullying at JC, juniors and seniors gathered in the auditorium for a second assembly, only for several students to be singled out and verbally harassed in front of their peers and teachers.

We appreciate that the administration is taking the initiative to address school-wide behavior—mainly because we’re sick of hearing teachers complain about how we’ve been acting at other assemblies. However, the way that Dean of Students Thomas Vierheller spoke to the student body at the March 1 assembly has us wondering how the administrators ever expect us to learn a lesson if they act no differently than us.

In January, Principal Paul Barker shared with the entire school his own experiences of speaking without thinking about the consequences of his words. His touching, personal stories inspired us to think before speaking and left us thinking about how we should treat our classmates. So we found it completely ironic when, just five weeks later, the administration turned around and contradicted everything that Barker requested of us.

To scold the seniors in front of the juniors was embarrassing enough for both classes, but singling students out was completely unprofessional, not to mention embarrassing for the students mentioned. Maybe the comments wouldn’t have been quite so shocking in a classroom setting, but talking about specific students in front of half the school seems awfully hypocritical of the behavior the administration is trying to instill in us.

To be fair to the administration, the points addressed during the assembly were serious, and they definitely need to be resolved. We do need to grow up, to be respectful of others, to act appropriately, and to take pride in our school. Certainly, we should know how to behave properly—this is high school, after all. But sometimes we need a model to set an example, and that’s where we look to the administration.

Unfortunately, the confusing assembly shows exactly why students don’t understand how to behave. One minute, the presentation was full of jokes, and then the next minute, we were told that our laughing and clapping was rude. After one joke, to which no one laughed, we were told that we weren’t smart enough to understand it. Maybe the administration should have realized that we didn’t know if it was an appropriate time to laugh.

The problem with the assembly was not the topic but that the approach was entirely wrong. Whereas Vice Principal Gary Scholl, who spoke before Barker at the January assembly, expressed that he “knows” we have it in us to be better people, Vierheller blatantly stated his lack of confidence in the student body. He told the senior class that he refused to give them permission to eat outside because he “knows” that they would leave trash in the oval.

At the end of the assembly, we were practically begged to take pride in our school. However, it’s impossible for us to consider feeling pride when the administration appears to have no confidence in us. If their standards for us are set so low, then what expectations do they want us to live up to?

The administration can’t possibly expect us to know how to act if the administrators contradict the very things they tell us not to do.

We wish the whole school would take Barker’s words into consideration, that we need to think before speaking. The assembly would have been effective if a more structured speech was prepared ahead of time. Instead of giving us the impression that the administration has no confidence in the student body, the administration could have showed us how a change in behavior would be beneficial to everyone. In order for us to take pride in our school, it is essential that both the students and the administration show respect.

– Patriot staff