The Harbinger Online

Fading Freedoms


We’re being oppressed. Shawnee Mission East was once a place of hallowed traditions and overwhelming camaraderie from the student body. But now, after years with the administration’s full support, we’re slowly being silenced.

Administration aims to stop the expansion of bad ideas as soon as they can and are doing so at all costs. They see their actions as putting out the fires we started, but to us they are so much more than that. Boys dancing during pep assemblies, screaming in bathrooms and getting dressed up for a crazy theme is what makes East so special and losing those traditions takes away the school spirit that goes along with them.

For years, boys’ sports teams have made a mockery of themselves for the entertainment of the East community. Each assembly meant a new twist on what seemed to be the same dance, each one funnier than the last. Over time, the administration noticed the dances drift from “harmless” to “inappropriate”, and the costumes from “respectable” to “risky”. To solve the growing concern of suggestive dances they were banned all together.

The dances weren’t just a time for boys to dance with their shirts off, it was a time to do something unique to East that got the whole student body hyped for the upcoming season. Taking away these dances defeats the purpose of a pep rally and furthermore takes from the rarity of East.

Rather than banning boys’ pep dances entirely, the administration must work with the students to ensure they are suitable for the student body to see. Collaboration may include a screening process of dances prior to each assembly. This way boys will still be able to perform dances for their peers and the administration is guaranteed they are appropriate and will shine a positive light on the East community.

Another sacred tradition at East that was taken from the student body was Club Baño. Every game day, male students crammed into a bathroom and recently a urinal was broken during the chaos. The students showed maturity towards the matter by both apologizing and taking full responsibility for their actions, including paying for the damages to the school.

This maturity towards the matter has gone unnoticed by administration as we are still not allowed to carry on the tradition. Baño is more than just jumping around in a bathroom. It is a way for male students to show their school pride in a way that is unique to East. Letting one incident derail years of tradition is unfair to the current students and all those who participated before them.

The administration sees their solution as putting out another fire, but they are taking away the school spirit of East along with it. They must use this opportunity to work with the students to revise the guidelines and rules of Baño to prevent a similar accident from occurring again, rather than taking away a  tradition altogether.

A privilege that comes with seniority is being able to decide the themes for upcoming games. The seniors decided on Braveheart for the theme of the Rockhurst game when the administration interfered without their consultation. The administration received a complaint towards the theme and seniors were upset they were not given a chance to fix the issue on their own.

High school is supposed to prepare us for what is to come and we cannot do so if we are not given the opportunity to mitigate the adversity that lies before us. The administration must be willing to work with the student body on complaints and worries towards themes to encourage creativity and school spirit.

The administration’s goal is to make East the best it can be. As is the students’. In order to reach our full potential as a community we must work together on the issues and debates that lie before us. Rash decisions and banishment of traditions do nothing more than upset the student body and oppress the school spirit of its members. Collaboration is needed between administration and students in order to promote the individualism and creativity that East encourages.

We understand the administration is acting on behalf of the student body, but it is apparent they are stepping on the toes of the students and silencing our ideas. The administration is working hard to protect us from fears and dangers that are not real.

For three years, they sat and obeyed their elders, dressing up as Waldo for halloween game or putting on a coat and tie for SEC game day but now it is their turn to run the show. The administration must trust their graduating class to choose an appropriate theme rather than intervene when it is unneeded.

As the songs changed from “Crank Dat” to “Hotline Bling” so did the dance moves, shifting from the Dougie to Gangnam Style to Dabbing.

Following the Fall Pep Assembly, the administration felt the dances were unsuitable for public display and banned boys’ dancing in all future pep assemblies.

As if the abandonment of our treasured dances wasn’t enough, shortly after came the premature ending of yet another ritual. Club Bano was a 5-year-old tradition that took place on game days where male students would cram into a bathroom and shout “Bano” at the top of their lungs. Following an incident with a broken urinal, the club was forced to shut down.

Participating students accepted the repercussions and raised the needed amount of money to pay for the damages to the school.

A privilege of being an upperclassmen is being granted the ability to chose game day themes for the student body. During the planning of the Rockhurst game, seniors decided on the theme “Braveheart” and spread the theme through Twitter. Students had days to ransack savers for kilts and rent bagpipes before the administration changed the theme only 24 hours before the game.

The restraints began with the ban on boys’ dances during pep assemblies and carried on to the ending of Club Bano and the restriction of theme choices on game day.
The administration must put trust in their senior class when choosing the themes on game day so that students can learn to govern themselves and their fellow classmates. If the administration hears a complaint, they should report it to the pep execs so that the students can address the issue, rather than the administration intervening unnecessarily.

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