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Change Recent RFH Policies

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Many students, including myself, are outraged by recent policy changes pertaining to cell phone use in the halls and the limitations on students school pride in the "Dawg Pound". I am striving to change these policies and help the student body and administration reach a fair middle ground.

 

Full Essay:

Rumson Fair Haven’s Recent Policy Changes/Limitations


To Whom it may concern,


As many know, Rumson-Fair Haven has administered several new policy changes over the past few years. Many of these have been both beneficial and necessary to achieving RFH’s goal of creating a safer environment; Both inside and outside of the school. Examples of these include the breathalyzing of students at Prom and the addition of a Gender-Neutral bathroom. Whereas these were questioned by many students, they truly have made Rumson-Fair Haven a better place, while not severely hindering the lives of the student body. On the other hand, some changes were not as necessary or practical.

Part of the high school’s Mission Statement, which can be seen on the school website, reads, “The mission of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School District is to empower students to realize their personal potential and fulfill their responsibilities as members of a moral democracy.” As a member of this so-called “Moral Democracy”, I am here to respectfully speak out, as I strive for change, particularly of two significant rules. This letter/petition has been written with no intentional malicious tone, and I am not here to cause unnecessary tension between the administration and student body. Instead, I’m attempting to share my thoughts and concerns, as well of those of many others, in a mature and polite way.

My main concern, is the updated policy pertaining to cell phone use in the halls. Regulations placed on students use of phones in the stairwells and classrooms is completely understandable, as these could lead to both harassment and general safety issues. Similarly, students who make calls in the bathrooms or hallways do not have the right to do so, and enforcing a punishment on these people is fair. The issue that a large portion of the student body has, including myself, is the innocent usage of cell phones as a student walks through a hallway while getting from one class to another. The strict punishment of an immediate detention is unjust, especially when there should not be a punishment at all.

I have been a student at RFH for over 3 years now, and I have never seen, or even heard of, an injury taking place because of someone being on their phone in the halls. While the policy is being enforced for “safety” reasons, many students think it truly pertains to events that transpired in the stairwells last year, with specific boys taking graphic images of female students. While everyone can agree this is sickening, it is no reason to “punish” the student body of approximately 1000 young adults. If we’re really young adults though, shouldn’t we be treated like so?

We are no longer kids who are incapable of making our own decisions, and we are also capable of walking from one point to another with a phone in our hands. Again, I am not writing this to be sarcastic or rude, but to share how I feel, and I feel that members of a Blue Ribbon school, who are 14-18 years old, should be allowed on their phones in the halls.

Every school day lasts over seven hours, and the combination of class, extra-curriculars and homework, provide little time for students to “relax”. Students deserve a break for 4 minutes between periods, and in this technology driven world, cell phones are obviously a part of this so-called “break”. Whether it be texting my friends, browsing social media, looking at my Powerschool, checking in with my sister (who lives 1,716 miles away), last-minute studying before a test, or any of the other possibilities that phones have to offer, the 4 minutes between classes are some of the few non-stressful parts of my day. While it may seem comical to someone who did not grow up in this generation, this is how today’s world is, and taking phones away from students is simply unfair.

Again, there should certainly be rules on campus regarding cellular devices, but the recent addition to the school’s policy should not be one of them.


My second issue is completely unrelated, but has many students equally outraged. The limitations placed on the student section at sporting events is unfair and it is hindering RFH’s school spirit. Friday night’s at Borden Stadium are one of the few times that the vast majority of the student body willingly comes together, yet this tradition is quickly being ruined.

Where I understand the rules created by both the NJSIAA and Shore Conference are impossible to get around, the student section seems to have such few rights when attending RFH sporting events. As a member of the football team, the “Dawg Pound” got me unimaginably fired up this past Friday. The signs in the stands and the rowdy chants made the first half incredible, but after halftime, the signs were gone and the section was quieted. If any signs were insulting, I understand them being taken. On the other hand, signs like “Curran Island”, which supported one of the team’s players, and cutouts of player’s heads, caused no harm, and made the first half much more enjoyable.

To my understanding, no rules were explained regarding signs or chants. Instead, the signs were simply taken, and anyone with potentially rude chants were threatened to be removed from the stands. Again, we’re young adults, and we should be treated as so. Before punishing us, the rules should be made clear, and students and the administration should work together, to make RFH both a fun and safe environment.

I have attached a petition with all members of the student body that agree with what I have mentioned. If this school is truly a “Moral Democracy”, then students should get an equal say in the changes that they want to see in our school. I am speaking on behalf of the student body, especially everyone who signed the petition. I am willing to meet with the administration, faculty, Board of Education, or anyone else that I need to speak with so that we can find a fair middle ground to make everyone happy.

For the last time,  I am not here to be obnoxious or arouse any tension. Instead, I know the student body wants change, and instead of sitting back and hoping for the best, I am speaking out. Thank you for your time and anticipated cooperation.


Sincerely,

   James Rue



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