Students bring ongoing debate over student freedom and regulations to light

  In school, students have the opportunity to learn what rights they have as legal US citizens. But what they don’t always teach is what freedoms they retain as a student, and how that sometimes conflicts with rules and regulations.

 “I think the entire student handbook restricts students as people. Yes, there are certain rules that need to be in place, such as rules against bullying, weapons, and other potentially dangerous things. But for example, the dress code. Students shouldn’t come to school half naked, but what impact do a girl’s shoulders have on our learning experience? There are plenty of rules in school, written and unwritten, that limit a student’s expression and opinion,” sophomore Taylor Bunch said. “I feel like, as students, we are very limited on our rights. So anything that we are given, I fully support and am always an advocate for more. High school is supposed to prepare us for college and life in general, and there’s not so many rules to keep us on track there, so we should be taught to do it on our own – not forced.”

  Bunch is open about her views and encourages more freedoms and less regulations. She’s educated on all of her rights as both a citizen and student, and hopes she can see some change in student regulations to encourage personal growth and maturation in youth.

  “If I could change anything, it would be to add some rights. I think that student’s not being allowed to go to the bathroom is a little crazy. If a student is going multiple times in an hour, it is understandable to say no. But if it’s in the middle of the hour and a student really needs to use the bathroom – let them. In the real world you’re not going to have to ask to use the restroom because it’s your right,” Bunch said. “Another thing is the dress code. I already addressed it above, but I think it is so important for girls to not be objectified by a dress code. I would also add the right to have food/drinks in class, within reason. You don’t need to have an entire bowl of cereal in class, but some kids get hungry throughout the day – and hungry kids don’t perform well in school.”

  The ongoing debate among students and staff alike concerning the regulations and freedoms of students has various perspectives and potential angles for argument.

  “I don’t feel like [student] rights restrict me at all. It actually empowers me,” junior Madison Rozzel said. “I feel like the rules and regulations are preparing me for life. You’re going to have a dress code for work. You’re going to have food rules at work. You’re not going to be able to carry around a blanket in the future. In all reality, the school gave us these rules to keep us focused and in check. The world is not what we are expecting.”

  Not all students, however, believe that the regulations placed on them are there to restrict or to aid in personal growth. Sophomore Alex Long is an example of a student who believes regulations are put in place to protect students from others as well as themselves.

  “I fully support the fighting/bullying disciplinary regulations. As young adults, we can’t always stand up for ourselves, and as a result, some revert to suicide as a consequence. Put this into perspective; on average, 1 person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes. It could be someone you know – friends, family, even teachers,” Long said.

  Long also believes that a large majority of the students in Warsaw high aren’t aware of their rights, and thinks the school should do something to better educate everyone on that subject.

  Some restrictions go beyond just limiting student rights, but their access to helpful information, too.

  “The restrictions on the internet surprise me. They have blocked so many valuable resources students can use and left the useless ones unblocked,” junior Aidan Graham said.

 Principal Randy Luebbert is thorough when it comes to writing the student handbook and discipline guide. He and previous assistant principal Billy Daleske base all rules on any changes in the law, recommendations from the teaching staff, and parents. Because of this, Luebbert believes all rules are fair, but still takes the time and effort to revisit them each year. However, the stark contrast between the current rules Luebbert upholds and the ones he followed as a high schooler himself is very evident.

  “When I was in school we still had corporal punishment, which

means a teacher or the principal could grab a paddle and take you into the hallway and give you swats for misbehaving at anytime. We did not have a cell phone at school or even in our cars. When a teacher or coach told us to do something we did it and did not argue or even question it,” Luebbert said. “Things were very strict at our school and if you didn’t do your homework, you stayed that day after school and did it, your parents were required to come and get you, you didn’t get to go to practices, games, or participate in any activities, and the embarrassment of that was enough.”