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Wednesday, February 27, 2008
OH MANN! OH MY!
Fear, Intimidation, Abuse Of Rules, Abuse Of Authority, And Abuse Of Power, And Oh My The Horror is what we have faced in the new JL Mann High School since the move this past January.
There have been new rules and new regulations that have been deemed unnecessary and considered outrageous by fellow students, parents, community members, and even a few teachers.
These 16 items include the following:
1. ID Policy
2. Food And Drink Policy
3. The New Loitering Rule
4. The New Littering Rule
5. After School Procedures
6. New Lunch Policy
7. New School Falling Apart
8. Unstable Desks
9. Horrid Commons Area
10. Advisory - Worth It?
11. Renaissance - HUH?!?!
12. Drills At The Last Minute
13. No Pep Rallies Ever?
14. NHS - The Continuations
15. Single Sex Classes - Do They Really?
16. School Website - Teachers Matter More Than Students?
So Let's begin with item #1 - The ID Policy
This is a great safety rule for our students. But since the move both students, teachers, and administrators have abused this power. For one thing students who do not where there ID's are sent to ISS. On the other hand teachers who do the same thing have no punishments in place. We are not saying that they should go to ISS, "Bad! Bad! Ms. Tyvan," we just want them to honor and respect the same rules as the students. Students have abused this rule because some teachers fall slack on the rules as with everything else by not wearing them.
Item #2 is The Food And Drink Policy
This should have been strongly enforced from day one. No school deserves to be filled with trash and dirty. On the other hand, students should be able to handle themselves with maturity when eating in the classroom. If they make a mess they clean it up, if not then punishment should ensure. Forcing students to eat outside class instruction leaves them to learn less and miss vital information for that class. The rule should only be enforced if a student makes a mess. If they do, they have to clean up after themselves and let the learning ensue!
The New Loitering Rule at #3.
Let me just say as everyone has said from students, to parents, the community at large, and teachers, as well, that this rule is simply ludicrous and unnecessary. What harm is there when a student comes early to school, say five minutes early, and they just need to breathe a bit before coming inside. I'd say, "That's fine with me. Have a happy dandy day." Well, not that slapstick. No student is going to be sitting there figuring a way to disrupt school that day and no student wouldn't dare to do stupid things, only the select few. The majority of the students who drive to school are upperclassmen. By that time no one has the maturity level of a "I just got out of middle school" - er. So seeing that they probably are not immature, most of them, there is nothing to little reason as to why the administration thinks they cause trouble by sitting in their cars. COME ON! If there is a problem, then punishment should ensure as with the Food and Drink policy. Not everyone causes a problem and having an administrator check the cars every morning just creates more than was necessary.
To show the funny side of this rule I decided to see if it was really that much of a good rule, since this was just implemented at the new school and was not a problem at the old school. "tsk, tsk" So about two weeks ago I arrived at school about 5 minutes early as I usually do. I see my friends waiting in their cars for the school bell to ring listening to their favorite music, talking with friends, and reading books, and doing homework. So I caught everyone's eyes around me and said to myself, "What the heck? He's too stupid to notice, I'll fake that I'm sleeping so that he will make a fool out of himself." So I did. 10 seconds later he comes to my car and knocks on my window once to "Wake Up" even though everyone around me knew I was totally faking it. So I lazily wake up and then he knocks on my window two more times. Seeing that I was "Awake" I start reading a book. He then gets angry with me for no reason and tells me to "LOOK AT ME" I mean he was shouting at the top of his lungs at this point. And at that time everyone is laughing at him in their cars. So I "looked" at him and then he does the same rhetoric, "Come inside and no loitering," even though I was not loitering. Loitering means, "to stand idly, to stop numerous times, or to delay and procrastinate." Okay the first two I was not doing. But the third I see, I "delayed" going into school because I needed to catch up on my "Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's" But I did not want to go to the Commons area, because it gets so crowded. That is item #9. And you'll see why we do not like the new commons area.
In the past week Item #4 was implemented. It's even more strange than Item #3. This is the Littering Rule. WAIT. Okay. So you're thinking that's a good thing right? I agree, but not in the way they are doing it. You see, let's say Johnnie parks 20 spaces to the left of me and decides, "Hey, I'm gonna drop this "Big Lots bag beside my car and see how far it blows to my right. Ha ha. That kid is gonna get in so so much trouble." The same can happen if he decides to place his Big Lots bag at my car. Either way if they find it an hour after I came in the doors I get in trouble. Silly, right? Even though it was not my trash. Some of the consequences have been "Community Service" and just this morning a student was arrested. OKay. Another girl said that a Burger King bag was found under her car, and that the administrators have the right to drive to Burger King to check their surveillance cameras to see if she was there. That is an abuse of power ladies and gentlemen. Leave it alone and let her be.
Since I leave early from Mann, Item #5 with After School Procedures do not affect me. A few of my Junior and Sophomore friends have detailed in full the nutty procedure when students leave campus. First, if you have an event after school, and you had an early dismissal, you are not allowed on campus until 4pm. Even though you might be late for that 3:45 Beta Club meeting, they will not let you in, even when your life depends on it. Another rule is that ALL Students have to be let out before Car Riders and Bus Riders. This may seem to be a fantasy for some students but it is unfair to the rest of the student population. Some friends of mine got picked up at 3:35 and could not leave campus until 4:15 so that every last student was out of the parking lot. The people who tried to leave before that were stopped by cops and told the entire student handbook. Oh my!
The Lunch Policy at #6 got way out of hand today and yesterday. In short, Students pick up your dang trash. It's that simple. Today because of a messy commons area the day before, at lunch today only two lines of lunch were served along with just milk. The Patriot Pantry, Snack Machines, Soda Machines, Gatorade, Cookies, Papa John's, And ChikFilA were not served. So this created chaos for students who regularly got school lunch. The first issue is throwing the food away. It seems that many students are too lazy to get up and walk to the trash can to throw their things away. I do it every day nonetheless. But the one thing that helps is when teachers and staff roll the trashcans around to the tables and we see that more students throw their trash away versus feeling forced to throw it away themselves. It is a big asset when the staff walks around because the students feel respected and we don't lose vital time with friends in the middle of the school day with trash issues. The second problem was having two lunch lines instead of four. Getting rid of the "goodies" was absolutely necessary, but getting rid of ChikFilA and Papa Johns was unnecessary. Today for the first time since the move, some students were not able to get their lunch until five minutes before the bell rang. FIVE MINUTES! That's not enough time to slam a banana and a Sunny D. So in the future keep the four lines, get rid of the rest. We teach healthy and safe habits that way.
The New School is certainly falling apart at #7. The school is supposed to be "settling" but we do not certainly do not see that at JL Mann. We have cement bricks falling at fast rates through two ceilings at once. At times they nearly miss a student's ear or head, if not watching out. This new school is absolutely dangerous. The walls should not be able to "move" but should be stable. Maybe other materials should have been used and more money used to help protect students and not harm them in their new school environment. It's enough moving into the new school, it's another thing making sure that "that cement block better not bust my head like a watermelon today," incident.
Not to mention that the new desks are unstable with Item #8. According to Inside Sources, the new desks were made by South Carolina convicts in prison. "Oh How Lovely." "We have murderers and druggies making our lovely new desks". "I'm feeling safer already." In the next few months, the school is provide "newer" new desks to make up for these that are full of crap and not useful in the classroom. The reason they are unstable you ask? Well. Most desks have four bars that help it stand up. Our "brilliant" convicts decided to cut their slack short and made only three bars. So if you are getting out of your seat and you happen to place your bag on the wrong side. POP GOES THE DESK! Yes, it's history. Thanks goodness for "Newer" new desks.
And now we come back to the Horrid Commons Area at #9. Yes, it's as bad as it seems. I feel like "High School Musical" every time I walk in there. Except there's no singing and dancing. And there's no Vanessa Hudgens or ZacEfron in sight. O well. The problem is that they commons area can only fit 530 students at a time. So put twice as much in their and you have a problem. Students can go to the library, but that's it. No one is allowed into the classrooms until the bell rings at the usual time. So cram around 1200 students and staff and faculty and so on in that thing and you have heat cramps, and soon chaos ensues again. This is why the Loitering Rule does not make sense. It's dangerous to cram the commons area, it's noisy, and students want a little bit of privacy before heading into a very "public" public school.
So is Advisory really worth it at #10? I mean I know we need life skills but recently it's just been a hoot of a waste of time. The last lesson depicted the last in a tornado situation and whom we would save: "Doctor, Teacher, Actor, Swimmer, and so on." Excuse me, what kind of life skill is this exactly? Am I supposed to be trained to be Supermann when I grow up? Um I'm not so sure. Let's find some "real" topics to talk about, but oh no, "That's too graphic," "You're too young," "blah, blah, blah" and so on with the excuses. So in short nothing is learned in Advisory just more free time of free time to chat with friends and make new memories.
The new Renaissance program is quite appalling at #11. The decision making process for this year's rally was extremely ridiculous. Students who were not leaders got to go, while other notorious ones were deliberately left out. It is about grades, yes, but absences, HUH??!!??!! Some people get sick and there's nothing they can do about it. I missed it because I went to the March For Life in DC and I was not allowed to go because they did not consider me a leader, because of the necessary absence. I think standing up for your right to live takes some gut especially when in DC in the wintertime. BURRR. I froze my butt off so that you could continue to live in this free world. In the words of Hilary Clinton, reworded, "Shame on you Renaissance!"
So any day now this week JL Mann plans to have their monthly "at the last minute" drills for fire, earthquakes, tornadoes and the like at #12. It seems that safety at Mann is not a top priority, more like at the bottom. We care more about the athletic teams and such instead of preparing for a natural disaster. HMMM. I'm confused. Anyways, I always was taught that hard work and being street smart was more important than being an athlete. I guess in my high school years I have discovered that this is totally false and wrong. Well, we'll see what happens from here.
Rumors are spreading widely that there will be no pep rallies at the new school this year at #13. I'm staying proactive on this because I know you guys want to see me dance one last time. I'm working hard to work things out, but things are looking dull right now. Hopefully in a few months we will try to persuade them to have at least one pep rally or two in the new school before our senior class leaves in May. Especially with school spirit being so low with the new rules, we need a pep rally soon and we need it FAST!!!!!!!!!!
The NHS inductions were held last night at #14 with our future leaders. The ceremony went pretty well despite no "fashion police" and "xtreme" gum chewing, the event was a pleasant thing that unfolded. More on this will come over the weekend. Instead let me take you back the months before the Induction Ceremony because of the delay due to the New School move and poor planning on the people in charge. In January were supposed to have a meeting. Well one week went by. Nothing. Second Week. Nothing. Third Week. Nothing. Fourth Week. Nothing. Wait. Were we not supposed to have one in January. I don't know. All I know is I followed my NHS rules and came to the "meetings" In case they did really happen without my knowledge, send me the memo.
A new program is coming to Mann at #15. Single Sex Classes is new in the realms of high schools across America. Only Elementary and Middle Schools have used them. We are determined to be the first high school to do it for our Freshmen class. WOOP DE DO! "We can make our freshmen more like middle schoolers again!" "YEAH!" (Freshmen teachers jump wildly up and down with glee) Well. Not so fast. Many of the freshmen teachers did not find out about this until the day AFTER the press release. So here we have a new program, no say from the freshmen teachers, and they just decide to implement the program to the dismay of the ill informed public. So before you send your kids into "Middle School Hell" please figure out if the administration and teachers are working together before you do so. It is a good program according to many scholars. But to the JL Mann community at large which many includes teachers and students, we do NOT agree. And lastly at #16 the school website tells it all.
Check out the screen shots of our website compared to others across the district. JL Mann
I chose the Greer, Eastside, and Mauldin sites, not only because they are "Award Winners" but also because they prominently display their students on their front pages.
As you can tell by our screen shot. The teacher gets the face over, while only student's backs are shown while they are recycling. "Well, that's nice." "We just love recycling at JL Mann."
But the other sites are seeming to have more substance.
Let's take the first look at Greer. Beauty Pageant held recently is the big news. Cool. Not only that the young ladies are prominently displayed with their faces showing.
"Gosh, I wish our website did that!" The teacher on our website, moreover was "Teacher Of The Month." We DO, also, have "Students Of The Month." Why are they not displayed? Don't ask me.
Let's move on to Eastside. Different variety. But still the same concept. Students are prominently displayed. Students at the YABA book party that stands for Young Adult Book Awards for South Carolina for reading at least two or more of the twenty books on the yearly list. A noticeable plus for Eastside is that they have photo galleries of other events at their school on their front page to showcase more of the student body than would normally be displayed on the front page. Smart Thinking Eastside!
"Let's try that Mann," says Jimmy. "Yeah," says Adelle the webmaster!
And by far, even though we are one of their biggest rivals, Mauldin's website is simply the best. The front picture is not poised and it shows the true spirit of what it means to be in high school. Make friends, study, and live life to the fullest. Another plus for Mauldin at that is that students are featured in their Name and Logo strip at the top of their page. The front photo is definitely the most intriguing to make students want to go to that school.
Now for the quiz.
Which school would you NOT go to based on their website?
A) Mann B) Greer C) Eastside D) Mauldin
Of course this is hard, but to be honest I would chose A) Mann. I feel that this is a "Moment Of Truth." We seem to make no effort whatsoever to prominently display our students as other school websites do and no effort to make students feel the want to come to this amazing school.
Guys, seriously, I love JL Mann. I have had the most fun that I have ever had in four years at this school. But this website of ours needs to shape up. NOW. FAST! If we do not care enough about our student body, try putting a student in charge or fire the current webmaster and hire another one. If we want more people to have interest in JL Mann we have to change our website, ludicrous rules, and regulations, and our attitudes to our students, teachers, staff, and our community.
JL Mann is still the best school in Greenville County. We need to show that starting tommorow when we are out in public, or at games, or at shows. They more we show off our school spirit, the better off our school will be, and the better off our future Patriots will be in the end.