Democracy flickers at Miramonte without student input

Editorial from the Mirador, the student newspaper of Miramonte High School

Returning to campus as seniors, almost two years since the last pre-COVID-19 classes, we were excited to enjoy all the activities and traditions of the year ahead. However, our exhilaration was dissipated by a variety of controversial changes made without democratic input from the student body. In the span of only two months, the Back-to-School rally was canceled, Homecoming was reduced to a mere movie night, and senior yearbook quotes were discontinued. 

Before our eyes, Miramonte lost high school traditions cherished by students across the country. Long-standing traditions must not be removed without student input in the decision-making process.

Leadership and the administration are responsible for planning rallies and dances. The Back-to-School Rally is vital to the recovery of school spirit after the summer break and the integration of freshmen into the community. Instead of enjoying the usual Back-to-School Rally, students ended up waiting three months for the Homecoming rally.

“We wanted to make sure the first rally our student body came back to was fantastic, so we took the extra time to plan and execute an outdoor rally for Homecoming Week, and it turned out really well,” MIramonte senior and Associated Student Body member Isabelle Bennette said.

Unfortunately, unlike past years, Leadership did not use their time effectively to plan a rally for the beginning of the school year. While they canceled the first rally in order to focus on the second one, the Leadership class should have consulted the student body.

“It’s honestly surprising that they needed that much time to put together an overwhelmingly normal rally. I would have just preferred to have the Back-to-School Rally that we usually have at the beginning of the year,” senior Dominic Clerici said. 

Out of the four schools in the district, Miramonte was the only one without an outdoor Homecoming dance. Though COVID-19 restrictions prevented Leadership from holding an indoor dance, the movie night was a disappointment to many.

“I have not been to a Homecoming since freshman year since I missed it sophomore year and we were online last year. I was really excited to dress up with my friends for Homecoming this year. It really sucks that we didn’t end up having a dance — especially since all of the other schools had them,” senior Ronald Hollis said.

Leadership’s decision to cut the Homecoming dance in favor of a movie night was wildly unpopular. A poll conducted on Instagram recorded 141 responses with 94 percent indicating that they would have rather had a dance than a movie night.

“We hear your disappointment that we are not having a fancier dance for Homecoming, however, we have decided as a class to allocate our resources and existing budget to the tailgate to maximize that event. We chose a movie night as a budget-conscious, inclusive and chill night for Homecoming. We ask that you respect our decisions for Homecoming, and we want to reiterate that we hear your calls for an outdoor dance, which is in the works,” senior Associated Student Body  president Jack Brun said in a statement to parents.

While Leadership made their Homecoming changes with good intentions, many students—us included — wish that there was some element of student input in their decision-making process. Because these decisions canceled decades-old traditions that affect the entire school, including the Homecoming dance, the planning process should not be exclusive to advisors and members of Leadership. While members of the Associated Student Body are elected by students, the majority of the Leadership class is unelected.

Though Leadership has not incorporated student input into their decision-making process, Miramonte Principal Ben Campopiano urges students to speak up.

“The idea that the class liked was a movie night. But if students are really excited about a certain kind of dance or something, then they should let the folks in Leadership know. I think that it’s certainly a time to speak up for what we’d like to see happen,” principal Ben Campopiano said.

By utilizing polls or another form of voting, the Leadership class could more easily plan events that all could enjoy. With more activities that are deemed popular by the student body, school spirit will improve. The simple solution of voting would be a win-win for everyone. 

Unlike the previous two decisions, which are temporary, the yearbook, La Mirada, decided to permanently remove senior quotes following incidents of “highly inappropriate and, in some cases, demeaning and degrading” quotes sent in by students in the past. 

A potential lawsuit at Campolindo High School over offensive quotes in their yearbook also factored into La Mirada’s decision. Though the administration initially pushed the yearbook class to remove senior quotes, the decision was ultimately left to the yearbook editors themselves.

After their meetings with principal Campopiano, the five yearbook editors ultimately decided to remove senior quotes from the yearbook. A poll of 147 students conducted on Instagram found that 98 percent want senior quotes in the yearbook. The yearbook editors clearly did not consider the wishes of the student body in their vote. For such a major decision that ends a nearly 60-year-old tradition and affects the entire senior class and future senior classes, it’s disappointing that editors did not take into consideration feedback from the student body.

“I don’t really know of anyone in support of this decision. It does not make much sense to me that they would remove yearbook quotes in fear that they would not be able to censor obscenities when there are so many other sections of the yearbook that feature student quotes,” senior Camille Rubin said. “There’s always going to be a place where students might slip in inside jokes within the yearbook, but I don’t think the answer is necessarily just cutting portions of it out. I wish that the yearbook editors consulted the student body or at least the senior class about this change. I’ve seen senior yearbook quotes every year since I was a freshman and I was so excited to have my own this year.”

It’s understandable that some traditions will become outdated, but whether or not this is the case, a consensus must be reached among the student body. With so much change occurring in a short span of time, the opinions of parents and students are being ignored. Though seniors have only one more year left of our high school experience, we want to ensure that future classes don’t also lose the traditions that make senior year special.