The following are excerpts of letters to the editor written by students in Natalie Kerr’s freshman English class at Derby High School:
There are many policies in schools that students complain about, but one of the most controversial is the dress code. Girls will get sent home for having a little too much skin showing, but boys can wear just about whatever they want. Boys can wear muscle tees, but girls cannot wear tank tops. Boys can wear their pants so low their underwear shows, but if a girl wears a shirt that is fitted to her skin, she will get sent home. Dress codes need to be fixed. Either they should be removed altogether or enforced equally for everyone.
Quinn R. Price
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In Kansas, you must be 16 years of age to work at most paying jobs. I disagree with this rule. Younger teens in high school should be allowed to work. Many students in high school are in need of money to pay for gas or to help out their families. Numerous students are also saving for college and for getting cars. I also believe that teens should be allowed to work more hours than they are currently allowed.
In America we always talk about how we should raise the minimum wage, but we do not think about who gets affected by this. Small businesses have been on the decline because of competition from big corporations. Raising the minimum wage would be a big killer for small business. Yes, raising the minimum wage would help those who are in poverty, but at the same time, it could raise the poverty rate higher because there would be fewer jobs.
Over this past few months, I have noticed that the treatment of customer service employees at stores and restaurants has been declining. Many people have either witnessed or experienced mistreatment from customers. I have heard many stories from my mother and brother about the treatment they have to go through every day, and many times the customer gets away with the act. Customers should behave themselves when they are dealing with employees, or something should be done if they continue to treat employees badly.
With the growing popularity of action sports, such as BMX, scootering and skateboarding, Wichita and the surrounding areas need to build more skate parks and/or expand the ones that are already here. When an event is being hosted at the skate park, everyone who isn’t a part of the event gets kicked off to the side and told they can’t ride until the event is over. Also, during winters all of us riders have nothing to do because there are no indoor skate parks in town, not even in Wichita. Many places outside of Wichita don’t even have skate parks. If Wichita were to build a bigger skate park or an indoor park, we could attract others interested in the sport and bring business to town.
If students’ behavior has to be respectful and responsible 100 percent of the time, I believe adults should have to act the same way in schools. For example, students forget things; it happens because they are just kids with a lot on their minds. But they get disciplined when it happens accidentally to “teach” them responsibility. When adults forget things, they do not get punished or told about responsibility. How is that fair?
Some teachers do not seem to realize that their classes are just one part of a student’s busy schedule. We have eight different classes, four each day. We are not able to just spend all of our time on one class.
Walking down the hallways of Derby High School, you'll see countless couples making out or groping each other. Whenever I see this, it makes me uncomfortable, annoyed and disturbed that they would do that in a place meant for making students feel safe. To solve this problem, Derby High needs to put more teachers out in the hallways or issue consequences when someone takes part in extreme public displays of affection.
More people would consider college as an option is they knew they wouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars. If prices were lower for college, books and other supplies, we would have more people with higher educations. Colleges could be missing out on bright people with big ideas just because these people can’t afford to attend.
Maybe it is time for high schools to start educating kids about the dangers of hazing and binge drinking. Once they are on college campuses, many of the kids give in to peer pressure and don’t think of the consequences of their actions. If these kids learned about the dangers of hazing and binge drinking in high school, they may remember the lessons better.
There is nothing that bothers me more than hearing that someone has been bullied. Whenever I see bullying, I try my best to stop it. I think that more people should stop it when they see it and not ignore it.
Having recently watched the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” about a high school freshman girl who commits suicide, I am beginning to see that there is an increasing need for specialized student counselors within schools. Students often need to seek help from counselors, especially if they sense that they are in unsafe situations and feel threatened by others or themselves. The mental health of high school students is important, yet most schools don't have specialized counselors. Most school counselors spend their time organizing student schedules, filling out college applications, or managing routine and irregular school activities. These things are necessary, but in our society today it is essential that students be able to receive help at any time and that the counselors have the knowledge, education and therapeutic skills for counseling our students. This means school counselors should have advanced degrees in psychology or sociology. We need counselors who are specialized in understanding and handling situations involving student mental health.