BYOL: How did misinformation turn to hate?

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Mr Woods only cares about IB test results and is ruining the schools name.

 

StuCo is useless.

 

The BYOL and new MMC rules “spawned from the cranium of lucifer himself”.

That – along with a host of other explicit and irrelevant comments, written for the bantz – was what met me when I went to sign the petition against the recent changes to policy with regards to tech in the caf and changes to the MMC.

Just to set things straight there seems to be a lot conflicting information being passed around that is clouding the issue of what really has and has not been implemented. Personally I disagree with both changes to the policy and think they should be reverted. In fact if the tech free zone is expanded my next comment article will be encouraging people to disobey the rule. Before I do that though I think we should take a moment to understand properly what has and has not been implemented, how the decisions were taken and what we can constructively do to engage in how they can be changed.

However with that over – although I feel like most of the student body handled the petition and the changes as a whole with reluctant professionalism, the comments of a large minority were appalling.

Photo: adweek.com
Photo: adweek.com

The ‘anonymous effect’ which causes people to comment things they would never dare say to someone’s face seems to have played a huge part in this. Does it make it okay to slag off people who are working hard to improve this school – even if you disagree with them – just because there will be no consequences, for they will never know it was you? It has been drummed into us more often than the 5P’s that we should think before we post and this a perfect example of this. Don’t forget that the mission statement of our school is all about valuing all people equally and promoting peace.

First off let’s get the facts straight: Mr Woods is not a dictator (or as far as I know: Lucifer). While he is the head of the school, he does not rule with an iron fist. He is open to discussion.

I have spoken to many teachers about the new rules in the caf and have yet to speak to one that disagrees with them. While quite a number think that they have been implemented too hastily or without consideration of where else to work at break and lunch, the general consensus is that there should be less tech and more ‘blah blah blah’ – as the gloating signs declare.

All of the caf tech changes were discussed with your 2014-15 StuCo Year Reps LAST year. They decided that it was a good idea and that students would be supportive.

We as a student body need to be focusing on realistic solutions to the problems the policies have generated, such as creating more common spaces, where people can work and eat without fighting for space with the 7th grade Minecraft ‘enthusiasts’. Instead it seems that people have decided that the best way to deal with things is play the blame game.



Second, is it really fair to direct our anger at the current Student Council and the committees? People claim that there has either been a lack of initiative or a lack of communication from StuCo. If one pays attention to the StuCo’s posts, the heads of committees were chosen two weeks ago – after two weeks of interviews.

Do we really expect the committees to instigate change when they are just getting their feet wet? Emails were sent by this year’s StuCo on September 1st asking for meetings to address the new MMC rules . If you are going to be angry, it is not this year’s StuCo you should be talking to.

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Moreover, if we really want our voices to be heard, we must express them clearly and maturely.  While everyone seems to think that our school’s leaders are meant to be so good at communication that they can sense what everyone is thinking telepathically, this is not the case.

Not one student had spoken to Mr.Woods, StuCo, a member of the Academics committee or the Media & Tech committee before the petition circulated.

The common argument seems to be that because we pay for the school we should have say on every little detail of what that happens here. Otherwise, shock-horror, people will move to CDL. Seriously, go for it. There is up to a 3 year waiting list of people eager to gain a world class education who will debate the rules in an intelligent way.

We (along with our parents) should definitely have a say in school policies. However this does not give us the right to individually dictate school policy. Much the same way that paying taxes does not give your parents the right to singlehandedly demand change in Switzerland. This is where things like the petition should come into play. A show of public opinion and call for change. But with 20+ irrelevant or offensive comments and people signing the petition as Mr. Woods or Harry Kane it makes the hundreds of signatures worthless.

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We need to think about positive outcomes: increasing the number of common spaces where we can eat and work, keeping the caf open all day, restoring the old MMC rules – or better yet, creating a useable IB common room. These are all things that are supported by our teachers, so this is where we should be looking to negotiate!

There will be a meeting next week between Mr Woods, the Academics committee, StuCo and a representative of Y13 who started the petition. We will keep you updated on any new ideas or changes.

However before posting hateful comments, we should think about who we publicly antagonize, what the facts actually are and whether it will actually further our cause- especially when tensions are running high.


Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this article by either StuCo or any of the staff. This is all my personal opinion, however StuCo and committees provided me with copies of emails as proof of what happened. These can be shared as proof if requested. Email me at joseph.cook@learning.ecolint.ch if you would like a copy.

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