Unrest among the student body

Students of Mrs. Herberts 3rd period AP Lang class flocking to sign the petition

Students of Mrs. Herbert’s 3rd period AP Lang class flocking to sign the petition

Shekinah Abolo, Writer

With the arrival of Final Season, news about exemptions keep changing every second of every day, and we’re sent clarification emails that leave us more confused than we started.  The sudden and unexplainable changes to how Finals have traditionally been run at Westside, like making exempt students sit in for finals anyway, are leaving people exasperated.

Juniors Naane Richmond and Dakota Rain authored a petition asking that students be exempt for ALL their AP classes AND the extra two classes guaranteed for all the underclassmen.

Naane Richmond and Dakota Rain

AP Students feel as if they’re being penalized for being ambitious, as they can either choose to be exempt from all their AP classes, or one AP class and one normal class. AP students with an 85 or higher class average and perfect conduct and attendance shouldn’t have to sit for a final exam when A.) The AP Exams ARE the final exams that they’ve been working towards all semester and B.)  Their average showcases that they’ve comprehended the material.

“The way they handled finals and exemptions completely sucked. It was such a pain to try and figure out how it worked and the fact that we only had 2 exemptions. it was just a mess,” says a Junior.

The unorganized communication surrounding Finals only further aggravated students and staff, but this is far from an isolate incident. Incoordination and making things more difficult than they need to be seems to be an intrinsic part of our school’s fabric, and truthfully, Westside has been in shambles all year long.

Where to even begin? The bathrooms maybe. The messy bathrooms, which of course is due in part to the irresponsibility of students, sometimes lack paper towels or  if paper towels are present they’re never in the dispenser, instead they’re placed on top of them or put on one of the broken sinks. A good chunk of the stalls and sinks are out of order, and overall, using the bathroom at Westside is mostly an unpleasant experience. Once,  the bathrooms had only hand sanitizer in the dispenser—-no soap!

There has been an unprecedented increase in kids roaming the halls during class, and Guidance has been done away with as a result of this. Reactions ranged from indifference to disappointment. Guidance was basically a free period, but if you were struggling in a class, you were put in its guidance, which benefited the students that needed the extra help. In APES for example, Guidance time was used to retake tests, get walked through homework, and get their Semester prairie service. To make up for the timeslot Guidance occupied, all classes have been made longer, which doesn’t help the skipping problem.

Another source of frustration  is the lack of support from the school for any programs besides from sports.  “We have to fight to get shouted out by the school,” says T-Pro member Kadiatou Beye. “we have to do it ourselves.”

There seems to be a blatant disregard for the Fine Arts. “For competition, we had to wait to get a “Yes” for the buses because some stupid rule about it not being a field trip, while sports could go,” said Beye.  Inertia was supposed to have a performance at revere middle school, but after leaving 3rd period to go to the dance room, Inertians were told by their director that the performance got suddenly cancelled by the school. “I have no idea why they cancelled it, but it just put all of us in a bad mood with admin,” says Inertia’s Adam Abcede.

Students also don’t feel safe on campus.

When asked about their biggest grievance with the school, someone answered: “We have had an ungodly amount of school shooter threats and it’s scary.” The student’s biggest concern was the fact that the school didn’t respond to it until a few minutes before class, in reference to the threat that occurred on November 1st, 2021. Gun violence is an unfortunate reality we, students have to live with and proactively prepare for.

Students also feel as if sexual assault is not taken seriously; rather than punishing the perpetrators, they’d rather discipline and silence the victims for speaking out.

Hopefully, administration listens to our complaints and improves because it can’t continue like this.