SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



New After School Policy
By Connor Pihl


March 04, 2006
Saturday PM

As Ketchikan High School's SBA President, but more importantly simply a concerned student, I was compelled to write this viewpoint after reading a number of viewpoints on Kayhi's new after school policy. Many previous authors of viewpoints on this subject have clearly described the Administration's new policy; they however, have neglected to speak about what caused this change.

Ketchikan is certainly not "LOS ANGELES OR NEW YORK" as stated before by a rightfully concerned parent. I would agree to this statement in theory, but is the big city mentality creeping its way into our high school and town? The answer is absolutely. Is Kayhi the same school as it was my freshman year? The answer is no. Is the Administration and/or faculty to blame? The answer is certainly not. As one of my classmates and close friends put it recently when we debated about this very subject, "Times change, people change, and we can not stop that." I then posed the question, "So we rationalize and accept the loss of respect for our school, respect for each other, and decline of honesty and integrity because times change???"

The students at Kayhi have undergone a visible transformation that could be arguably attributed to a number of things which include changing social values and/or half of the school not having a traditional middle school experience. This transformation has led to some saddening realizations that the administration, faculty, and students have all come to. They range from the facts that as a student you cannot leave any of your possessions unattended without risking being a victim of theft, as a teacher you cannot leave your classroom unlocked even to go to the bathroom without again risking being a victim of theft, and finally as an administrator you cannot trust the students of Kayhi to be unsupervised without leaving the school and all its amazing technologies and teaching tools vulnerable to AGAIN being a victim of theft, or even better senseless vandalism. The truth is Ketchikan High School and its students have assumed thousands of dollars in losses and damages due to theft and vandalism, with many if not most of these occurring after school. For me it took a personal experience early this year to open my eyes to the gravity of the increasingly saddening situation.

The distressing fact about this issue is the actions of a few DO ruin it for the many. It is my firm belief that on the whole the students at Ketchikan High School are some of the brightest, most respectful, friendly, and well-rounded students in the state. I say this with the knowledge of having the privilege of visiting countless high schools around the state, all of which simply could not compare to Kayhi's students, faculty, and administrators. It is also my belief however, that the actions of an increasing number of students have forced the administration to do something that they did not want to do.

The administration's position could have been described by the eternal phrase, "between a rock and a hard place." Do they either keep the current policy and continue to assume hundreds, even thousands of more dollars in losses and damages, or do they implement a change that will hopefully curb these actions and remind students that having the school open is a privilege not a right? Many alternate solutions have been proposed on this site such as installing "old-fashioned gates", or posting "hall guards". The fact is these things require something that is increasingly impossible to come by in this school district, MONEY. I have had the opportunity to intimately learn this by being a part of the School Board where EVERY decision involving money is heavily discussed and scrutinized. The question boils down to what can we do? Do we sacrifice something, let s say because of the recent interest, MORE of the music program, or a faculty member to provide "hall guards"? The reality is the administration had to make a choice, and they made one, one that I personally support now and until the actions of those few become the actions that we no longer have to worry about.

Lastly I feel that I need to express my thoughts of the current Kayhi Administration as so many before me have done. I would like to help the author of a viewpoint who is, "still confused on what this administration is doing to strengthen school identity and improve the system", see what I get to see. I see the administration at every school activity proudly, and definitely loudly, supporting Kayhi student participants. I see the administration coming to the school at 10:30PM on a Friday to help set up for a formal dance that will take place the following day, then after dance, which they have chaperoned until nearly 2:00AM, coming in at 7:00AM to clean it all up. I see the administration teaching the student body new cheers and ways to show school pride and spirit at an assembly, then challenging the students to use these new devices at the basketball game later in the week. I see the administration stop at a small raised hand belonging to a Schoenbar student to answer a question in an after school tutoring program. I see the administration frequently. WHY? Because they care enough to ask what the students feel about issues that will affect them. I could go on forever, but I guess in the end it's just what I see.

Connor Pihl
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Connor Pihl is a currently a senior at Ketchikan High School. He is the Kayhi SBA President, School Board Student Member, and active participant and fan of all Kayhi activities.



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