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Staples Needs to Speak Up

Graphic by Connie Zhou '12

When a quarter of their teachers were fired, students at Austin Polytechnical Academy in Chicago set up a petition even in the face of suspension, they walked out of their classes to protest.

Sadly, this kind of demonstration would rarely, if ever, occur at Staples.

In the past two years, the administration and Board of Education have made controversial decisions that have had widespread effects. While many students complained to their peers, they did not take direct action to express their anger.

One of the more recent cases was when Arena was eliminated. Although a significant amount of students, especially juniors, were upset by the elimination of this 40-year scheduling tradition, no significant effort was made to reverse the decision. To this day, students question why they let the decision pass with out a battle.

Even when a significant number of their own teachers were given pink slips, the student body seemed to be unmoved. Even with their education affected, students appeared unconcerned, and seldom even spoke of the matter, let alone did anything about it. No petitions were signed, no marches were made, and life continued.

Staples students need to become more active in the way that this community is run. If there have been any instances of students speaking out at BOE meetings, they have been rare and not supported by the rest of the student body. Students are more involved in their own lives and what directly affects them than the welfare of the community as a whole.

To fix this problem, students need to know what is going on. Whether this means talking to members of the community, including parents, teachers and the administration, or reading about current events, nothing can be done if no one knows what the problems are.

If there is an issue that affects students or the community, an event or group should be created on Facebook to share the information. Leaders need to take initiative and form plans of action that the rest of their peers can rally behind. Whether it is a petition, a march or a rally, the BOE and administration actually listens to us. This was proven when almost all of Staples Players gathered at Town Hall to protest the budget cuts that may have affected their program. With signs reading phrases like, “Don’t Wreck the Wreckers” and “Restore the $1.4,” their cries were heard, nothing was cut, and they had made a difference.

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    Elaine DaignaultJun 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Another great way to be heard and get involved in community issues is to attend Westport Youth Commission meetings. The Commission is a group of 15 youth and 15 adults (including officers, teachers, pta members, etc) who are appointed by the First Selectman to address isses that affect youth and families in town. We meet on a monthly basis to serve as a catalyst for discussion of issues that young people feel are important. If you have an idea, issue or thought about how Westport can be a more youth-friendly place, come to a meeting or email us at [email protected] or visit or facebook page at

    You can also contact [email protected] to learn more or get involved!

    Who cares what you think? WE DO!!