New Park policies restrictive

Ivan Zank

The new Park policies have become a controversial topic. Some students are against the harsher regulations on phones and tardies, while others advocate for the stricter rules. After looking over the new policies, it’s clear to me that they are too suffocating to the student body. They don’t give enough room for students to grow and make mistakes.

These policies were enacted way too abruptly—there was no buildup. How these rules were introduced was inequitable. If the administration had introduced policies similar to these last year, but less strict, maybe the student body would be more used to it by now to be able to follow the rules smoothly.

The most notable of the new policies is the renewal of detention at Park, which hasn’t been in place at Park in previous years.. In order to receive detention, one must have three unexcused tardies in one day, one completely missed class in a day or two partial absences. Detentions are held in the cafeteria between 3:15 and 4 p.m. 

All of these reasons for detention can be simple mistakes due to a bad day. Waking up late, car not starting or getting lost are all valid excuses to miss school or classes. When Park punishes us for simple accidents it tells us that we can’t have bad days, we can’t make mistakes or have accidents. This is a toxic mindset that will carry with students for the rest of their lives. We should focus on accepting human error instead of punishing it. 

High school is about finding out who you are and the way most students find that out is by experimenting with new freedoms—like driving or getting a job. How are we supposed to grow and become well-adjusted adults if we can’t even leave campus for lunch? I understand that the school doesn’t want to be responsible for a student’s injury or death, but couldn’t they give everyone a slip for parents to fill out—like a field trip form—saying the school isn’t liable for anything that happens to a student outside of school grounds? Park already does this for the senior class, how hard would it be to apply this rule to other grade levels. The restriction of freedom is actively suppressing the student body and making it more difficult to branch out and become adults. 

Park should enact what’s called a “Logical Consequences” policy. Essentially, logical consequences treat human beings like human beings. Instead of detention or similar punishments, logical consequences suggest communicating with the student about why they were late and figuring out if punishment or communication would be a better course of action. I think that this system helps humanize students and teaches problem solving skills—it shows that there are solutions to their issues. Instead of going straight to anger, Park can choose to calm down and talk about why someone acted the way they did.