Teen Talk 6-18

     This school year has been one of new rules, strict policies and even new times. The new superintendent of the Lansing School District, T.C. Wallace, has had “the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a strong organizational structure”.
     This so-called “structure” has brought nothing but chaos in the new school year. Great teachers have left and great ideas and classes have been cut including entire languages. Superintendent Wallace has brought in changes with him that could have been left out.
      One of the problems felt by all, at least in the high schools, is the business about lunch. The freshman class eats lunch at 9:49 in the morning. The sophomore and junior class eat at 10:40. The junior and senior classes eat at 11:53. The teachers don’t even have a chance to eat lunch. The big problem is that these lunch ”hours” only last for 30 minutes and they’re closed campus.
     Our schools have also brought in other rules. Now it is against the rules for anyone to wear flip flops, shorts that don’t go past your fingertips, undershirts, spaghetti straps, no hats anywhere on school campus, not even outside), no pda’s (public displays of affection), you have to carry an ID at all times (this rule was instituted a week before we even got temporary ID) and the graduation requirements have changed to where the students only having a small choice in the classes they want to take and lots of other changes.
    The penalty for breaking these rules is severe. I myself served a mandatory three-day suspension from all school activities for going off campus for lunch. Some have even received up to a two-week suspension for leaving the school’s campus. Also the school has started to crack down on tardiness. Every six tardies a student receives they are suspended until a parent returns them to school and has a meeting with the principal.
     A woman I talked to the other day I was suspended told me she saw some motivational artwork with a mountain with paths flowing down it and at the bottom it said change. Under change it said, “The path changes but you must make the turn”. This is one turn that people do not want to make. Dr. Sharon Banks’ way of doing things worked and the students enjoyed it. We want our old structure back.

Gianni Risper is 15 and a junior at Eastern High School in Lansing, MI.

(Publisher’s note:  Hmm,  I don’t agree with Gianni, who is my son, but we as parents have to give our children the opportunity to express themselves.  I didn’t have an open campus in high school and the cutting and tardiness wasn’t like it is today.    I believe that the school system is being responsible.  What’s your take?)