When in the course of designing class schedules for our nation’s students, it becomes necessary for one people (school students) to protest the imposing circumstances that have connected them together through loathing and discontent, and to call upon the powers of their so-called democracy to give them the rights which have been entitled to them through the Declaration of Independence; and upon the assumption that all men are created equal, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare a valid opinion for their demand for an eight-block class schedule for the school day.
The needs of the academic student body are self-evident: to produce the best possible students, they must have access to a multitude of classes and credits. In preparation for a higher education, the eight-block schedule — including freedom to select a study hall — would benefit all enrolled in high school.
When any form of authority strays from the path of what is best for students — for the sake of simplicity and pleasing the loudest protestors — it naturally becomes the duty of the students to make the loudest protests and change what is unjust.
Patience, once exercised and taken advantage of, no longer has its place in the path of action. It is unnatural to permit a community of students to endure an undesired schedule which inhibits their learning. Truly, it is the right of the students to rise with a cry and cast off this restriction set in place by those charged with ensuring their success and improve their high school career. Such has been the students’ intellectual sufferance, and while it is a risk to aggressively address the situation, the prospect of liberation makes it worthwhile. To prove it, let evidence be displayed to an observing body of faculty and students:
- The student intellectual community has been denied learning opportunities, which are necessary for the public good.
- Scheduling committees (of adults) have been called together with the goal of hearing student opinions with an open mind, but instead, the committees have orchestrated the receiving of biased opinions through the use of leading questions.
- Students have been denied the ability to maximize their intellectual potential, and have been forced into factions based on one chosen interest of specialization.
- Those students who chose to intensify their study of one subject are subsequently forfeiting their ability to explore the depth of the school curriculum.
- Students who have civilly expressed their desire for more blocks in the school day have been repeatedly challenged, but this has only served to make their desire even stronger.
- The administration has taken advantage of student-led discussions on this topic in a negative way, overriding students’ collective voice in order to impose its own will.
- Students have been denied the opportunities to broaden their studies, given that their schedules do not permit the taking of classes such as music, art or STEM courses.
- For many students, online learning has been the only solution, although this is commonly not complementary to a student’s most productive learning style.
- For obliterating student choice for classes.
- For eliminating diversified educational pathways.
- For promoting a specialized microscopic education for students with wide-ranging interests.
- For inhibiting the learning of student by enforcing an undesired schedule.
- For replacing the voice of the students with their own restrictive voice.
- For implementing a schedule that does not sufficiently allow students a full exploration of the offered electives.
- For limiting student creativity throughout the day.
For the past year, students have been attempting to revert the schedule to eight blocks in the most civil and cooperative of ways. Alas, students have only felt more oppressed after each attempt. A schedule that limits students, and hence the school’s potential, is not fit to be implemented against student consent.
We, therefore, the Representatives of Harwood Union High School, here assembled, appealing to the administration for the rectitude of our ambitions, do, in the name of and by the authority of the good students of Harwood, solemnly demand that an eight block schedule be implemented for the 2016-17 school year. We further demand that the students be absolved from the hardships of a seven-block day. With the implementation of eight blocks, students will have the power to explore Harwood’s unique electives, the ability to take a study hall, the opportunity to pursue a passion, and the flexibility to take all required classes within the building. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the benefits of an expansive education, we mutually pledge to the school of Harwood our minds, our effort, and our hard work ethic.
— Lily Clark, Nicole Cutler, Madeline Strasser, Anneka Williams, Harwood Union High School, Moretown, Vermont