As seen in the Oct. 25 issue
Marguerite Alberts, graphics editor
As students age, they are granted more freedom both at home and at school. Parents have faith that their children are able to take care of themselves, so they allow their kids to do all of the things teenagers enjoy doing, such as driving and going out. For the first time in their lives, students don’t have to be accounted for at all hours of the school day and are no longer forced to take as many specific classes. They aren’t stuck in a room during lunch or forced onto a specific field at recess. Previously, they had little say in what so-called “electives” they took and what their schedules looked like. However, teenagers have the ability to make their own decisions.
Despite the severe rules and consequences of ditching school and skipping classes, on a big campus such as Beverly’s it is fairly easy for students to come and go as they please. Perhaps the school’s administration places a lot of trust in its students or perhaps it simply can’t keep track of the school’s approximately 2,000 students. Either way, the students’ education is their own. Although students may receive a deduction on their overall grade or do poorly on a test, it is up to them whether they go to class or not and to what extent they learn the material. As Spotlight Editor Jessica Lu pointed out in the previous Forum article, clearing an absence by claiming illness is hardly a challenge.
However, as students mature, the old adage “with great power comes great responsibility” becomes perfectly applicable to their lives. Although I, and many others, hate being restricted in any way, shape or form, and though I appreciate being able to go on and off campus as I please, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. In this case, the freedom granted to students is a double-edged sword.
Although having freedom is an important luxury that Beverly grants its students, it is hindering the safety of the school. In a time when gun violence is a serious threat, one of the most effective ways members of this school can catch criminals is by word of mouth. But, in a school as large and open as Beverly, no single person could possibly recognize every member of the Norman Nation. So, how are students, teachers and staff supposed to know who is a threat and who is not?
Members of the community need to be more aware of each other, and perhaps the best way to do that is through bonding. Though this idea may seem improbable, the school should be able to host activities where everyone comes together at least on a smaller scale — within grades. If each grade does more education, interactive and, most importantly, fun activities, it will bring students closer together. Instead of having orientation and other events only for freshman each year, the school should host events for each grade. Although seniors have special events second semester, it’s too late in the year. Before the summer, when students come to campus to get their schedules and books and turn in their forms, there should be bonding events afterwards such as mixers or picnics.The school needs to be more unified; in order to spot outsiders, it is important to know the insiders.
So although it is nice that we have the freedom to make most of our own choices, the extent to which we are free hinders our safety.