Dance drama offers lesson about rules, rule breakers

October 25, 2011

By Lee Xie

Lee Xie Skyline High School

It was the subject of school gossip. Upperclassmen, lowerclassmen, guys, girls — the students of Skyline High School filled the halls with buzz surrounding the potential cancellation of homecoming.

Eventually, the Associated Student Body was able to secure the dance for the Spartans after all, with some conditions involved. But just like that, A Knight for a Princess really did turn into an evening of happily ever after.

However, now that the dance is over and done with, students may forget what prompted the near-cancellation to begin with. To clear things up with the hopes of learning information that can help Skyliners avoid such a problem in the future, I sat down with our principal, Lisa Hechtman, to discuss school policies and how they fit into Skyline.

When the news of homecoming’s possible cancellation first hit, students immediately pointed fingers at Hechtman and her “strict” policies. However, when I asked her what the goals behind her policies were, she clarified, “School boards set policies. Rules and procedures will mirror district policies, but I don’t make the rules themselves. What everyone is trying to accomplish is to help students become honorable, thinking, skillful citizens.”

The biggest rumors surrounding homecoming had been about the back-to-school dance. The student body as a whole was confused about why there had been a sudden tightening of rules, as the dance had occurred after last year’s first home football game as well.

“My reaction to the welcome back dance was a culmination of two years. Adults had tried various things to control students, but moshing, body surfing, grinding and forms of dancing that make you uncomfortable persisted,” Hechtman said. “That weekend, I decided I didn’t want to do another dance that same way. I talked to student leaders about problem-solving for homecoming because I was unwilling to have the same situation. I thought students would be able to solve the problems together and we ended up agreeing on parameters — the dance was never cancelled. All I said was that I was unwilling to have another dance in the same way. Expectations needed to be clear, but I mostly wanted the night to be fun and safe.”

There may have been rules broken during the back-to-school dance, but on a whole, Hechtman assured me that she thinks the “general student body is good at following rules.” Surprisingly, one of the “biggest rules is to pick up after yourselves at lunch. That one fascinates me and it’s not even written,” she said. Also, one of the most “important rules,” she added, “is to be on time to class for the sake of learning, safety and being with peers. For an administrator, there would be chaos if everyone decided to be tardy.”

For administrators at a high school, it may be difficult to supervise almost 2,000 students, but the “best way to effectively enforce rules is to start at a level of respect. It’s important to honor good behavior and punish in private. There should be clarity in regards to expectations, but also the mindset that discipline issues are poor choices, and not signs of poor character,” Hechtman said.

No matter what school you attend, remember “to be respectful, and you will gain respect in return,” she said.

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