The last two weeks of my senior year of high school were some of the most trying times of my life thus far; and it wasnât because of final exams of pre-graduation preparations. I spent my final days of high school in the office of the principal of Davison High School (whose name I wonât mention, as she has proven time and time again her inability to handle stress), arguing over the legality and morality of charging students fines for books in which they did not intentionally damage. Rather the damaged books were simply a result of depreciation. To make a long story short, the school and I gathered some media attention which resulted in my character, reputation and family being attacked by an overpaid school spokesperson, as well as a state law in the making to align Michigan with states such as Minnesota in preventing overzealous, power hungry administrators from stripping students of their rights.
Iâve worked for the U.S. House of Representatives, worked in the private sector, and been immersed in local politics, but I have never seen something as corrupt as school administrations. Let me be clear, I had some of the best teachers a student could have, many better than the college professors I have today. In fact, I think students and teachers should team up to take back Americaâs schools. Currently, school administrators have no checks on their power besides their friends at the local school board. Students need to rise up, and be the checks on school administratorsâ power.
A few years back a friend of mine, a prominent realtor in town, attempted to add Americaâs best documentary filmmaker to our schoolâs hall of fame. Ironically enough, this filmmaker, who attended the same school as me, was Michael Moore. The school district and good-ole boy network went to great lengths to prevent this âcrazy manâ from entering its hall of fame, full of insurance agents and local TV announcers. They even resorted to calling the police, as organizers were submitting thousands of petitions to the schoolsâ fax machines. The biggest argument against honoring our schoolâs most successful graduate was summed up by a member of the hall of fame selection committee, Don Hammond, who said âThe people here don't like people making fun of 'em.â One of the many supporters of the âGet Mike Inâ campaign was the Mayor of Davison, who at the time said, âDo we not want to encourage our young people to be independent thinkers? Obviously not.â And somehow, the âpeople who donât like people making fun of âemâ crowd defeated the more intelligent, yet significantly younger crowd.
In an article about younger voters running for school board in Davison, board member Carol Dowsett said, âI think our board is very mature, very reasonable, and very wise.â Ms. Dowsett, your school board may be considered very mature, reasonable and wise if you were running a state penitentiary. Otherwise, I and many other students and parents would characterize the Davison School Board as lazy, useless, and spiteful. This is the same school board that has approved the actions of a school administratorâs policy of requiring students to bow on their knees on the playground at the sound of a whistle. You may be asking yourself, is this a prison or is this a school?
School administrators, I say to you, communicate with your students as if theyâre what they are, adults who could, within months, be holding a gun in Afghanistan. Meet your students on the level, as a Mason friend of mine would say. Prepare your students to enter the real world, a world that requires open-mindedness and maturity to deal with societyâs most complex problems.
Students, recognize a good school administrator when you see one, as theyâre few and far between. I personally know of one, who runs one of the best schools in Michigan considering the student population. However, itâs unlikely youâll find a good set of administrators in your respective schools. So, ask the questions nobody else will ask. Run a campaign for School Board with a platform or ridding the school district of power hungry administrators who lack intellect. Read Here Comes Trouble and be inspired. Refuse to check your constitutional rights in at the door of your high school. Call out the power hungry administrators on Facebook, in the media, or on this website. Donât go to the school board to voice your concerns, youâll be stuck in the middle of a family card game, go to your state legislature. Whatever you do, donât sit back and watch the demise of the American education system.