DHS administration should stop encroaching on parental rights

The following article reflects the view of the writer and not the views of the DHS Telegram.

A lot is going on at Dixon High School regarding some of Principal Barsotti’s less than popular decisioins. This has lead many students to  express their views in ways they have never done before. Last Friday, Dixon High School Students participated in a “Blackout,” protesting the color change mandate (or return to old color mandate) by Principal Barsotti. The issue of color is a trivial one in the context of the grand scheme of things. The greatest issue is that all power has been given to the administration with the principal being the “know all” figure. Simply put, Mr. Barsotti is encroaching on parents’ rights to know what is good for their child.

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Principal Barsotti has been accused of being unresponsive to the desires and opinions of his teachers and students. Mr. Barsotti sent an email explaining “student schedules 12-13 School Year., and why he believe most students will (should) be on a zero period through fifth or sixth period schedule. Mr. Barsotti stated “high school classes are cheaper for students/families than post-secondary classes.” It is true that high school courses are cheaper in regards to money than post secondary classes. What is not being taken into consideration is the time value of a student. Taking a class in High School does not always apply towards college credit. So a student taking college classes can use those credits to graduate through college faster. Secondly, high schools do not offer the same variety as post-secondary schools do. Rather than wasting extra time and effort at high school campus, a senior could be taking couple of courses at college that count towards his/her college graduation directly or utilize that same time preparing oneself towards the approaching “Life after High School”, be it a career course, a job, a college course, or simply be any family or social responsibility.

Principal Barsotti argues that “more knowledge is a good thing.” Not necessarily. Someone may know a lot about how to beat the system to abuse drugs and they may be trying to increase their knowledge about it. Would Mr. Barsotti’s argument that “knowledge is good thing” stand its grounds then? Proper knowledge of certain interests could be the need of graduating seniors. Some may feel that they learn more outside of school than in school. How does Principal Barsotti gauge what knowledge is good and what is not?

I know many that will be packing their schedule with college level courses in their senior year. If a student is supposed to study two hours outside of class for one hour of instruction, four hours of in- class instruction would require eight hours of studying, which would result in the student studying for school for more than fifteen hours a day.

Principal Barsotti stated that he will review requests to leave early on a case by case basis. They may be given permission if they have a job they need to get to. Another power grab. Students that have taken heavy workloads for three years prior and worked extra hard can use getting out early from school as a half-way house to adulthood. Time saved from school can allow students to focus on activities more closely related to their interest, career, and family needs.

I spoke with Mr. Barsotti regarding the porposed changes to the school schedule. His stance was that those that want a zero period should want it to learn more not go home early, and was eager to point out that he wants to make sure that classes of value are offered during zero period next year. He admitted that if school enrollment does not decrease we would be understaffed.  Mr. Barsotti explained that when he reviews case by case requests to go home early he will be making some exceptions.  Mr. Barsotti did want me to include that those interested in working next year need work permits if they are under eighteen years old.

The essence is that students and their parents are smart enough to decide what is the proper decision for their family. Parents know enough to decide for their kids. Let the parents and students decide how to wisely utilize time beyond five classes in their senior year at high school and don’t encroach on their rights to make choices.