Red Tide, Vol. 2, No. 6 [Issue #10]
Convocation: Another Farce
[By Michael Letwin]
Ever since the “convocation” was held at University High a few weeks ago, “student government” leaders, administrators and teachers at Uni have been contemplating the reason for the lack of success and attendance at the sessions
The “purpose” of the convocation was[,] theoretically, to allow students’ grievances and suggestions to be heard. However there was only a turnout of about 26% of the students. For weeks ahead of time, the event had been advertised as the place where you could have a voice in changing the school. Yet almost no one turned out to talk. Instead, hundreds of students sat on the Women’s Field. (They were offered this alternative to leave school.)
Of course the reason that students did not show up in large numbers was [an] indication that they knew that whatever they said would be compiled, filed, and probably denied by the administration, especially if it was a suggestion of any magnitude. Most students knew that there was no reason to waste their time in discussions that would lead nowhere.
The “convocation” was another of those attempts at pacifying student complaints about lack of freedom and choice. The “student government” of course was instrumental in planning and practice of the sessions.
Two years ago, there was a similar attempt at this type of “convocation.” Attendance was mandatory and the students made a long list of things they wanted, such issues as smoking on campus [and] open campus. The administration answered by putting a long list of different reasons and rules as to why none of the changes could be made.
So we have a simple solution to the problem of the lack of attendance and interest in the convocations. Give the students the power to implement any and all of their majority decisions. Set up a real school government where teachers and students could democratically run the school. This simple right would solve the whole question of student apathy and interest. But as long as there are farces like that of the convocation, students will not wish to pretend that they in fact have none.
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]