In the last few weeks, East has seen new entities entering the school: petitions as well as paint crews. Change is hard to swallow; it always is. Changes, especially within a large public school of vibrant and proud high school students, are often times met with discontent and protest. The Harbinger believes that the Shawnee Mission School District should consider the opinion of students in a decision such as repainting every surface at East. Next time a large decision is made that will affect many students, the district should consult with them first.
The building is repainted every ten years. The district is allocated money that taxpayers have given up for the improvement of the public schools. The upkeep of the schools includes repainting the walls, a task that will span over four to six months with painters working through the evening.
It is evident that the higher-ups did not consider the repercussions of such a decision. The district should have been more mindful of the students, and should have sought more input from the people who walk the halls every day: us.
A debate has emerged between students and the administration as to whether East’s several skillfully-painted murals should be exempt from a new coat of paint. Yes, these murals express the personality of our school, and yes it will be a shame to see them go. The administration scrambled to try to resolve the issue and released a statement that included their solution to the mural crisis. They will photograph the murals and mount them on poster board so they aren’t fully gone.
But the real issue isn’t the paint colors or the murals, it’s that this conflict should have been avoided. The heads of the district are essentially unaffected by this decision, but the students are in the halls and in the classrooms every single day. Both the paint committee and the district should have better consulted with the students before the executive decision was made to paint the walls. All of this happened without student input.
That is why the Harbinger believes that the students should have been given the opportunity to vote on the decision to paint as well as which colors were chosen for what walls. The administration, district and students can work democratically. A healthy debate can arise, and the kinks can be worked out.
If the students at East had been given a voice on the issue earlier on, the conflict between the administration and the students as well as the students and the district could have been avoided. The Harbinger staff hopes that the district will better consult with students in future drastic decisions, to avoid such conflict.