Letter to the Editor: Hear student voices

Daniel Daversa, Contributor

Dear Mountain Lion Echo, 

I come to you today to address a problem that should be discussed. We all know now that clear backpacks are required. From what I know, many students have a problem with this. My question to all of my readers is, do you like having your privacy rights violated? Now you might be thinking isn’t that kind of bold; well it may be, but it is also the truth. Under law, student rights it says, “As the U.S. Supreme Court once declared, students do not “shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse door.” The law also states “Students have the right to be free from intrusion into personal matters, but these rights end where the safety of others is concerned.” (find law.org) 

Now you might be thinking well that clear backpacks are mandatory for the safety of others, but the reason this is not the case is because the daily searches they do during school are effective. Now you may argue, it takes too long to search every student, only they search us everyday anyway. It would increase 20 seconds for a student to open the bag and look through it. The fact of the matter is every item you buy and bring to school is your private property; therefore, you should not have to put your personal items on display. Now I think we can all agree that we do not want any violent attack in our own school, so it can be easy to just say let them do whatever they want to protect us. Do you really want  fear to control you though those thoughts; they will always be in the back of our minds but we can’t let that give people the right to violate our rights. First, clear backpacks and be searched everyday. What’s next? The reality is when you have  a designated group of people meant to do things in the best interest of kids or teenagers they think that we can’t think for ourselves. That is obviously not true, and I say we should have a say in what happens in our own schools and hallways. It is time to speak up, be respectful, yet stick to your truth and say what’s on your mind; together we can make change. We are taught that we are in control of ourselves and the decisions we make, but we have no say in what we have to do in school. I call upon the school board to listen to us. We may just give you a solution that leaves us all satisfied. Now I ask all students, teachers and administration to please hear the students’ words. 

Ashton from our school states that,” It is ridiculous for us to have to wear clear backpacks just to make the school administration feel better.” 

One other student said that it is an absolute violation of their privacy, and they should not have to put all of their stuff on display. They say that we should also not be held in a search line ending up late or in a class. One other student said that it makes him feel like he is in a prison. He said,  “ We are rounded up and treated like prisoners, I already do not want to be here and this makes it 10 times worse.” 

Another student I talked to said that forcing us to do something and not letting us have any say  of what happens to us during the school day is a complete violation to us as humans. I talked to someone from GACTC and they said, if you play sports the clear backpacks are awful. You have to buy two brand new bags instead of using your old one and the clear bags do not hold up as well so it is awful.  My next student I talked to said the clear backpacks make them feel very uncomfortable they have to bring some personal things at school and do not want everyone to see this stuff.

So far we have students that feel like this is a violation of human rights. We have a student that feels outraged and a student that feels insecure and uncomfortable. These are all unacceptable emotions for a school administration to be putting onto students. We understand that you have your reasons to implement this, but I think it would be fair to say that we as a student body are fed up and need some change in the system. If you give us a chance to come together as a community, we can come up with something that can replace the clear backpacks.

I had a discussion with a teacher and she said, “ Students should have a say in what happens in their life every day, they should form a cabinet to advise the school board, give ideas and help with the day to day struggle. Not only could we solve the clear backpack problem, we could bridge the gap between students and administration.”

I truly believe that we can fix the problem. Do not toss us aside; our opinions matter and shall be heard. Let’s change this school for the better; do not submit. We can make change the right way respectfully. You teach us kindness goes a long way. You can prove that right now by hearing and listening to us. Change can be made peacefully, and it is time.