Hooligans at the High
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Every student and teacher has experienced the all-too-familiar disruptions of students skipping class. Administrators have tried to solve this problem with heightened frequencies of hall sweeps and a renewed commitment to ID checks, but the fact of the matter is that some of these youths need serious help to avoid a disrupted education.
“They all act like clowns”, said Gian Mission, a junior at Albany High School. Other students at AHS voiced similar opinions. “There need to be improvements in our behavior,” eleventh grader Sion Hardy said. When asked to elaborate, she shook her head, quietly mentioning she’d rather not say. These student responses underline the misbehaviors of her peers and the need for drastic action.
“I feel bad”, said another junior, Klein Aboki. “People are always running around the school. There should be detention for everybody!” While this was meant as a joke, disciplinary actions do need to be considered, as well as other measures. Education is important to succeed in life, and earlier studies by this newspaper have shown a lack thereof, possibly caused by all this skipping and breaking of school rules.
Studies have already shown correlations between skipping and much worse things, like bullying, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and lower grades. Only a handful of researchers delve into how to stop this, however. A recent study by Violeta Enea, et al., cites experiments by famed psychologist Carl Rogers and themselves in how empathy is key. “What matters the most is a respectful listening of the person”, Enea wrote (this is translated from Romanian). This method is being passed over at Albany High, with harsh measures being enacted with little focus on the individual, possibly resulting in drastic consequences. Another study by Don Thomas, et al., found that following positive reinforcement “the rate of appropriate classroom behaviors increased in most cases” more than with negative reinforcement. This shows that maybe a less authoritarian policy could help solve this growing issue.
Not to say positive reinforcement isn’t being attempted at AHS. Falcon passes and Honor Roll ceremonies help encourage students, certainly. But this is aimed at higher-performing individuals and the reality is that many kids will never even expect to earn such accolades. Perhaps all we need is a brighter outlook, that focuses more on the student, instead of herding skippers into the auditorium, an approach that won’t change anything soon.
“The need for change is dire,” said a student who wished to remain anonymous. “I detest vulgar language […] and in this school it is used frequently, and there is a complete lack of discipline!” Another student watched a person break an egg inside another’s backpack, resulting in an unpleasant situation smeared with yolk.
As discussed in a recent Code of Conduct information article, change will not happen soon, if ever. But maybe certain, unexpected positive results could arise from the administrators switching to a more positive outlook.