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Water Bottles for Williamstown

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Open Container Policy: a Rebuttal
With the advent of a new principal, Mr. Johnson, leading into the new 2017/18 school year at Williamstown High School, students were faced with a plethora of new and ridiculous rules. Above all else, the new "open container policy" at WHS is a massive issue disrupting the lives of most students who just wish to have a water bottle available to them.

First, it must be established exactly what this policy is and why it has been introduced to the WHS environment. Original concerns to overturn the more lenient "clear bottle" policy in which water bottles were permitted, as long as the contents were clear and the bottle as well, stemmed from an issue many, many years ago. Three students had brought alcohol into school inside of a water bottle and ended up in intensive medical care due to their actions. According to principal Johnson, he asserts that this rule has been set in place to deter the possibility of such a thing happening again.

At face value, this may seem like a good rule for the school, until you consider the logistics of such a thing. Rather than simply having a water bottle in class, students must now fully leave class, therefore distracting their peers and teachers, just to get a sip of water. This in itself should be a massive red flag, as this overly complicated method of merely getting a drink now requires multiple minutes outside of class.

Secondly, this severely impairs athletes who need to stay hydrated for their practices and games. Athletes must now actively dehydrate themselves due to the unavailability of water during class time, and the implications of this are major during game time. The issues involving dehydration in sports far outweigh any extremely unlikely threats of a student potentially bringing an illicit substance to school rather than just water. Dehydrating our athletes through an attempt to solve a non-issue is not the right way to handle anything.

Thousands of Williamstown tax dollars have gone into getting new water bottle fillers within the past year, which must now sit unused due to a complete lack of students using water bottles within the school. It is frankly disgusting that such an amount of taxpayer money will sit stagnant in the form of now obsolete water bottle fillers, all while teachers must still fight for contracts.

Most damningly, this "open container policy" does not solve the problem it seeks to fix. Students are still allowed to bring any beverage they please to lunch, therefore drinking alcohol on campus still is possible if someone has that motive. Removing the availability of water bottles will not change the possibility of someone consuming alcohol on school grounds.

Nothing can take away from the horrific pain the families of those students who had consumed alcohol on WHS grounds felt; however, this new policy is not the right approach to an open container policy. Any clear container with clear liquid should be allowed on school grounds, as taking this away only hurts those who just want to stay hydrated throughout the day. Please reconsider this current situation, and revise this distracting policy.



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