Administration neglects authority of Legislature
March 8, 2017
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Legislature provides an outlet for student and teacher voices to effect policy changes changes. It consists of 34 students, teachers and members of the Administrative Council who together are given jurisdiction over all policy decisions at the high school.
Legislature plays an important role in the high school, for any policy decisions must be run by them before being enacted. However, their power can be undermined when the administration passes a bill without the approval of Legislature. This happened recently when they passed a policy regarding a new “L” grade without going to Legislature beforehand.
An “L” grade is not factored into the GPA of a student. According to the new policy, if a student changes levels in a course within 10 class periods of the end of the marking period, the student will receive a grade of “L” in that course for the marking period, denoting a late entry.
Phil Dorfman is a student member of Legislature and was one of many members that was unhappy with the way the administration circumvented Legislature.
This policy had already been implemented and appeared in the course catalog before being brought to Legislature, according to Dorfman and science teacher Mary Angione, who acts as the Government Liason between Legislature and the administration.
“We were not opposed to the bill, but we were opposed to the idea that when they brought it to us, it had already been implemented,” Dorfman said.
Angione explained that there have been times when Legislature helped push significant changes in the school and that their work to change the cell phone policy is a perfect example of this.
“It’s getting to be five years ago now, but it was Legislature that drove the change to the cell phone policy. I don’t think students in the building know that five years ago, you couldn’t use a cell phone at all during the day and that we would confiscate phones in the hallway,” Angione said.
Assistant Headmaster Hal Mason said that the administration did not purposely go around Legislature.
“It certainly wasn’t intentional,” Mason said. “It was something we had been talking about for years and slowly implementing, and even then it was delayed by a year before we put it into effect, but this obviously should have been brought by Legislature as well.”
Mason said he sees the importance of having Legislature at the high school and believes that it is an important part of the school.
“The way the high school is structured is we have a democratic concept of how decisions are made, which is different than many other schools. Legislature is an important voice in that,” Mason said.