What are rules for? Do they matter at all?

Shannon A. Garrido

We all know what rules are, prescribed guidelines and or laws on students conduct and actions. What can sometimes become blurry is why rules are implemented in the first place; rules provide a sense of predictability and consistency, thereby promoting physical and emotional safety. Given the recent news regarding some student’s lack of respect for school property and the consumption of illicit substances, many are paying a price. New rules and regulations are being put down and many question the effectiveness of zed rules to be followed, and whether it’s a good idea to place students under military ordinance.  

One of the many new regulations is that students are now required to leave their backpacks and cellphones inside their lockers at all times and are not allowed to ask for permission to find any materials during class hours. Many found this rule conflicting for legitimate reasons; high school students rotate classrooms depending on the subject and leaving the backpacks inside their lockers forces them to carry materials for each from the 5th to 8th floor. Students only have 5 minutes between classes, that’s five minutes to use the restroom, drink water, and find your backpack depending on whichever floor it is situated. This alone should be enough to rethink the proposal; it’s a logistics nightmare.

Even if there was a link between the use of backpacks and the aforementioned underlined issues, the ‘solution’ put into effect, in any case, would be fruitless. In economics, it is proven that the more a product is restricted the more demand it creates and the easier it becomes to obtain through illegal markets. So even though the rule put into play has no relationship with the issue it was enacted for, it would then prove to be ineffective if it did. In reference to school property, there is even less of a link. Since backpacks in no way encourage students to attack school property. This leads students to wonder why it was implemented in the first place. It can be inferred that these new rules were placed by the New Horizons directive without a logistic assessment. Many of our students are upset and conflicted with the change to their disciplinary code, being so abrupt and close to the summer.

A lot feel that an environment that is supposed to be pedagogical where their individual talents are to be fomented is becoming an institution where all students are criminalized. Anger is starting to take over New Horizons halls, students are tired of being monitored and profiled unnecessarily. This is when the previously asked question comes into play, why are rules important? It was implied that rules provide a sense of security and protection. If rules are placed impulsively, they fail to be respected, necessary or effective. If all of these factors fail to comply, then the rule is trivial. There is absolutely no need to keep students under strict authority, all it does is create an ambiance for exasperation, frustration and even distractions from lessons. If the effects of these regulations make kids to spend so much time irritated that their concentration in class is muddled, it should be questioned.

School should be a liberating and productive space for students to build a future, all while considering the importance of their mental and physical health. The moment we accustom kids to follow rules with no base or purpose, they lose a sense of the independence they need in order to take on the real world.  Let’s encourage our administration to rethink its approach to student misconduct. Let’s help our superiors dedicate more time understanding why students misbehave and help these perpetrators mature and evolve in an effective manner. It’s just as important for students to get good grades as it is for them to retain happiness. Students grow up with the memories schools give them, so let us remember New Horizons as a family, that was encouraging and accepting towards all of its students.

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