A Dover Dilemma

Across the board, everyone has noticed: Dover High School is out of control. There are escalating behavior problems everyday. Respecting others is a thing of the past. Clubs and other extracurricular activities are dying left and right.

I can’t pinpoint what’s causing the problem, but I know that it didn’t used to be like this. I used to feel safe in school, but now I’m not so sure. Admittedly, my brush with ear injury has forever altered my view of Dover Plains, but there’s much more to it than that.

I know that I can’t solve the school’s problems, but when directly faced with a related issue, I rise to the challenge. At least, I try.

My Problem

I’m obviously dedicated to Dover’s student body and will be until graduation. I served as my Class President for two years and now serve as the Student Council President. I’ve put in many hours to ensure successful pep rallies, homecomings, dodgeball tournaments, fundraisers, after prom parties, and miscellaneous charities while expecting nothing in return. Far more important than these, however, are the instances where my Student Council has been challenged by bureaucracy and I’ve had to “fight the man”.

It’s true. A student-run organization in a public high school can run into problems with other organizations, including adults and administrative bodies who are supposed to help the students. In the weeks and months to come, I’ll tell those stories; there’s no reason for me not to. Until then, there’s a short-term crisis.

Prior to four years ago, Dover High School had two pep rallies, one in the fall and one in the spring. Although that was “before my time”, I’ve been told they were miserable events. In response, former leaders decided to turn the spring pep rally into a “Leadership Rally” featuring a motivational speaker. The deal was that the High School Student Council would choose the speaker and the school administration would pay for it.

At least, that’s what we thought the deal was. Administration didn’t budget enough money to purchase the services of a motivational speaker this year, and it has been suggested that the High School Student Council pick up the tab. The money isn’t the problem, it’s the precedent.

Precedent is a terrifying thing in Dover High School. If an organization does something once, regardless of what anyone says, it will be expected to do it in the future. I’ve been working through a similar issue already this year, but I haven’t reached a solution. Essentially, financial burdens are being dumped onto Dover’s High School Student Council and the system isn’t sustainable. My treasurer has played with the numbers, and the Student Council can only carry on this way for about five years before running out of funds.

I cannot and will not allow this to happen. But, what can I do?

My Solution

The student body is expecting an assembly with a motivation speaker later this year, and it’s the Student Council’s perceived job to deliver. Student Council, in the past few years, has given opening remarks and let the speaker do his or her thing, despite not footing the bill.

My solution is an ultimatum. Dover High School is in shambles right now. A motivational speaker can’t solve its problems, but it certainly can’t hurt. After consulting my advisors and friends, the key people who rewrote the Student Council Constitution with me, I’ve decided to just say no.

The High School Student Council won’t pay for it. The assembly will occur, but in a crippled form. Although the student body suffers in the short term, the choice makes sense for the future. I refuse to leave this school knowing my Student Council cannot financially sustain itself.

I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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