New Policy Change: students' voices being heard

By: Dagney Palmer
If you are a student or teacher here at Tuscarora High School, you’ve probably heard some of the many negative things said about our new school. Many Students, especially at the beginning of the year, compared Tuscarora to a middle school, saying that the school’s rules were extremely harsh and restricting, especially compared to the rules they were used to at Heritage and Loudoun County High Schools.
The students have complained about the RISE reading rule, the no-electronics rule, and the new 20-20 rules, along with almost every other aspect of the Tuscarora Rule Policy. Everyone was whining about the rules, but no one was actually trying to make their feelings known to the SCA or administration– until now. Recently, several THS students have approached our principal, Ms. Jacobs, and other members of the administration about the issues they wanted changed.
One of these students was tenth grader Nathan Huet, who sent Ms. Jacobs a letter concerning food in class as well as homecoming decorations. The Homecoming committee had also been pleading with the staff to allow decorations for some time. At the last minute, Ms. Jacobs decided to allow each grade to decorate a hallway for Homecoming. “I think that the changed rules for study hall are the students’ first step in getting Tuscarora to be run like a high school, rather than a middle school,” Nathan commented.
As a result of these students’ determination to make this school their own, a new policy change came into effect on Thursday, November 4th. This new rule allows students to listen to iPods and mp3 players during study hall (after RISE reading time), and to have a snack during the first ten minutes of second and sixth block. Most students were ecstatic about being given more freedom in the school setting. This policy change shows that the administration is willing to compromise and listen to the ideas of the students.
With this new policy change, the administration has proved that they are taking the students’ opinions into account when addressing certain issues. During an earlier interview Ms. Jacobs said she is, “willing to negotiate some issues… but students need to feel that they can come to me to address them.”
Why did it take so long for this rule to get passed? Well, the administration was hesitant to make these changes because they feared that having music and food in class would be disruptive to other students and staff. Tuscarora students argued that because of the late lunch shifts they need sustenance to stay attentive during class, and that listening to music helps them focus on their work during study hall. Luckily, the THS administration was able to agree on a rule change that can be beneficial to all members of the Tuscarora Nation.