A Microscope of the Model Home, Issue 7

The Silence of The Students Cont.

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Photo credit: Maddy Leja

“We are listening!” says the Parker logo with headphones on. Cartoon by cartoonist Maddy Leja.

With chaos ensuing around the country, one would hope Parker would be a safe place to share our feelings, ideas and plans for the future. However, recently Parker has felt less like the haven we would hope it to be. With its own chaos around the plan to return back to school, many students have felt discouraged in using their voice in the way Parker brags of teaching them to. At a time where we should all celebrate speaking out and making our voices heard, Parker is making our voices feel less important. If our opinions on our own education don’t matter, why would our opinions on global issues?

The plan to go back to school was made and reviewed by many individuals, and while I am so thankful for the effort and hardwork, the two groups of people this plan affects most were not involved in the planning process: the majority of teachers and students. Even the Upper School Counselors, who are left to deal with the mental health of students, were not given warning about the intense increase in screen time. After the handling of Senior Month, students already felt the administration did not value their voice, but the plan to return to school confirmed all those beliefs. 

In the fall, the administration discussed how important the weekly surveys were and how much the student feedback impacted the creation of our fall schedule. However, these surveys suddenly stopped being sent out in the late fall, as the planning for the return to school was occurring. 

After each grade had a successful grade-wide event in the fall, a committee was formed to plan more in person social events. This committee not only planned no events but stopped meeting altogether. Although I give my greatest condolences to Upper School Dean of Student Life Joe Bruno, his absence should not have determined the fate of this committee. 

Parker has not shown that they care about the Upper School students in the decisions they make, their allocation of space in the school, and the voices they listen to in their decision making processes. 

While Upper School students only get to attend school two-half days every other week, eight days in total, the rest of the school will get to spend the entirety of their time in the building. Upper Schoolers who have already missed the entire fall semester of in-person learning are once again not prioritized. Not even a compromise was made where everyone would be hybrid allowing high school students more time in the building. While I get why the Lower School must be prioritized because of access to childcare and the importance of socialization within elementary education, I cannot understand why the Middle and Upper Schools cannot both be hybrid to allow Upper Schoolers more time in the building. 

Even in Student Government, a place where students’ ideas should be celebrated, the Student Body argued over the wording of the Hybrid Schooling Resolution because many felt if we expressed the way we feel, in the way we want to express it, the administration would not listen, simply, because they are hurt we do not like their ideas. Even while this may be totally unfounded, it should not be a worry of the students. If Parker was a true embryonic democracy, students would not only have their voices valued and celebrated, but they would know the importance of their own voice.