Ch-ch-Changes

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Ch-ch-Changes

Xenia Minton, Staff Writer

In 1971, David Bowie once said “Time may change me, but you can’t trace time.” Even though none of us grew up during that time period, we can still reflect on new changes and how we react to them. While the 2019-2020 school year is just beginning, many students have already expressed multiple complaints concerning the new school policies, specifically revolving around three main adjustments: dress code, parking, and academics.

     According to the St. Andrew’s Upper School Dress Code Guidelines, the new dress code states that “all students should be held to reasonable guidelines regarding dress;” specifically, “shirts and dresses should cover the midriff and chest,” and “any t-shirts or hats with inappropriate language, references, or wordage may not be worn.” While the new dress code has greatly improved from previous years with the acceptance of leggings and college t-shirts, these vague descriptions of the shirt lengths and shirt word details give the administration more opportunity to either give students more flexibility or more infractions.

     “People should dress responsibly, but the school should have more faith in students to do that,” Junior Byron Bishop said. “A dress code is not necessary [for high school because] in college everybody just wears whatever they want. At this point in our lives, we do not need a written dress code.”

     Many teachers and students would disagree with this view, but others have expressed similar concerns that a dress code is unnecessary. This year’s dress code is undoubtedly an improvement from last year, but there is still subtle sexism that exists in the dress code today.

     “For boys, essentially the only thing you can possibly get dress-coded for is wearing graphic tees. Meanwhile, I’ve seen people attempt to dress code girls for having straps that are not wide enough when they are wide enough and shirts being too short,” Bishop said.

     The new student parking system has also raised some concerns from the student body, specifically juniors. Seniors have assigned parking spots, and juniors and sophomores share a combined parking area.

     “It was recommended to have assigned parking for the seniors because several students advocated to decorate their parking lot spots with chalk, but that was only really useful for the first two days of school because it washed away,” Prefect of Campus Life Committee William Langford said.

     “The [seniors] who are complaining didn’t get good spaces and the people that aren’t complaining did.”

     Regarding the changes to the junior parking lot, Langford said “this year, we decided to combine these two spots which would incentivize juniors to get here early so they could get a good spot while also giving sophomores the opportunity to not have to walk past the gym and the arc to get to school.” While some students may not agree with the new senior privilege and new incentive to arrive to school earlier, “if there’s a steady attitude for change, I will talk to Dr. Foley who is the sponsor of the Campus Life Committee.”

     Finally, many new academic changes have been made for this school year. Course limitations prevent students from taking more than three AP classes; the exam schedule is being changed from a single exam per day to one exam per day to two exams per day; and parent conferences will occur for one full day instead of one and a half days. Some students have complained about the lack of communication and do not understand the reasons for the changes.

     “[The administration] doesn’t give us any reasons for doing anything, and I feel like if they explained the ‘method to their madness’ then maybe students would be a lot happier,” Sophomore Liza Lominick said. “I’m getting mixed messages from the school [with them] trying to be new and innovative. Sometimes changing things for the sake of changing things isn’t good.”

     With Liza’s concerns in mind, some teachers have expressed an opposite way of looking at the new academic changes. Regarding the course limitations, many teachers believe that this new change will benefit students’ overall mental health.

     “A little balance and moderation is good for people,” Upper School Counselor Lauren Powell said. “I think it’s better for people to get eight hours a night. That way, that’s what people are judged by. They’re not judged by another standard. It limits everybody and therefore protects everybody.”

     Ms. Powell also addressed the exam and parent conference changes.

     “You’re thinking about the next exam and drawing it out over four days seems like more stress than just condensing it and being done,” Ms. Powell said. Regarding parent teacher conferences, “it is often easier for people to get off of work on a Friday for a few minutes.”

     Regarding general complaints about the new school policies, Ms. Powell quickly defended the new administrative decisions.

     “Change is always a challenge for human beings. We like things the way they are,” Ms. Powell said. “We’re not trying, in any way shape or form ever, to make life harder for you all. We are always looking for ways to try to make the system function better. We hope students trust us, and that is our end goal.”

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