The Nature of Change

Cole Mier, Opinion Editor

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Change is inevitable. Often times people regard change with utter contempt; any deviation from what is normal is greeted with sheer hostility. The cries of millions of people on the internet when the Ghostbusters were made female or the Human Torch became African American only prove this point. I am not one of those people. Change keeps things fresh, allows for shifts in perspective, and presents new ideas. Yet, I feel that a distinction must  be made: there is a difference between change for the sake of improvement and change for the sake of change. While both can rile people up, one updates and refines while the other simply shifts a few parts around and calls it new. Neither type is inherently bad, and negative reactions to both will gradually dissipate, the former assuaged due to belief that the change was for the better and the latter due to time and lack of attention on the issue. So, considering that we are all in this time of change in Maggie Walker’s culture, I think it would be valuable to examine some of the changes being made, keeping this distinction in mind.

If I am being entirely honest, none of the “hot button” issues like the Honor Council, censorship, or dress code are what inspired me to write this article. No, it was the movement of the couches on the sophomore side of the commons that did it. This movement has cut the sophomore’s space to socialize almost in half, while cramming everyone together in an uncomfortable manner. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to do so, I cannot write an article entirely on couches. Luckily, the changes to the commons lay out reminded of another change recently made that failed to improve the student body’s experience, the Minor Infraction Referrals, or MIRs. Like the couches, they are not significant and could be classified as a “first world problem.” Soon enough, they will be accepted by the student body entirely without questioning. Nevertheless, I must say that these new tiny slips of paper are entirely pointless. They do not hurt anyone, but they do not help anyone either. There is no reason for them to exist. A student can get 16 MIRs in a year (2 MIRs per each class, 8 classes a quarter, and 4 quarters a school year) without getting work detail as a punishment. If the crime is great enough to warrant immediate work detail or a greater punishment, then MIRs are bypassed entirely. This makes no sense to me. MIRs only enact change by slightly undermining the teacher’s freedom to handle student offenses at their own discretion. If a transgression is minor, then there is no point to even writing it up. It creates a formal process that replaces the respectful student-teacher relationship that existed beforehand. The domineering nature of the MIR creates an increasingly hostile environment that does not need to exist at an open and engaging institution like Maggie Walker. So, while MIRS do not provide drastic degradation to the school’s status, I must reiterate, they are entirely pointless.

Another major point of contention in the school is the new, revamped dress code. Strangely enough, no changes have been made to it whatsoever. It was simply announced that the school would be enforcing the already existing dress code more strictly this spring. Students at Maggie Walker are very active as members of the community, so of course this announcement garnered a large response. In all honesty, this massively negative response seems unnecessary towards an issue that actually changes nothing than what was previously established. The announcement of the crackdown on dress code violations by the school was equally unnecessary. It presented the dress code as a change, which of course would cause an uproar, while in fact changing nothing. If the school had merely allowed for teachers and administrators to enforce the dress code at their own discretion, then there would be no problem and the dress code would be enforced to the same extent. Instead, the aggressive “you will have to wear your P.E. clothing” approach of the school simulated change and failed to make an impact other than creating student discontent.

This is not to say all change is bad. The newly revamped “Future Dragon” week has proven incredibly effective and a better experience for both the eighth grade students and the students here. Even I must admit that the musicians in the Bluestone lobby were fairly fantastic. Still, the school must not continue down this path of stagnating changes in the future. The new Minor Infraction Referrals, “stricter” dress code, and movement of couches in the commons especially prove how out of touch the administration can be at some times. In no way is this an attack, for our school is still the same wonderful establishment it always has been. Instead, this is a call for change. Good change. In the future, we as a collective community must ask, does this really help the school? If the answer is yes, by all means, go ahead. If not, then perhaps the change should not be made.

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