The Death of School Spirit

Many people don’t realize how the world around them is affected by bureaucracy, regulation, and tyranny, but one example can be related easily, especially at Dixon High School. 

DHS's New Campus

Our school recently built a new campus, and the transfer that began three years ago had been quite the tremendous event. Dixon High had a beautiful new campus, much like that of a small college, that was adorned with rams etched into almost every wall to note our loyalties.

At the old campus, which was still perfectly fine (don’t ask me why we needed a new campus), the Associated Student Body (or Leadership Class as our school calls it) received regular fundraising income from soda machines that were strategically placed. The profit from these machines that vended sugary soda alongside sugary juices and the lesser-purchased good old-fashioned water was directly for the Leadership Class to appropriate.

These monies allowed the Leadership Class to appropriate money to host bread-and-butter events like class dances and pep rallies or subsidize club-hosted events such as benefit dinners and concerts. However, due to a law passed by the California State Legislature in 2007 (the year when the campus transfer began), sugary foods and drinks of any type were outlawed for sale on campuses state-wide, making it illegal for the Leadership Class to have the vending machines on the new campus.

For the Dixon High Leadership Class, this was a major blow. At a time when school spirit was at an all-time low, and students were just re-establishing the pecking order at the new campus, the Leadership was unable to hold any pep-rallies or dances minus a very, very minimal homecoming celebration. This was just the beginning of the troubles, however.

Every day, student body entities were having trouble fundraising due to new regulations that not only dictated what could be sold on campus, but what kind of events students could host. Candy bar fundraisers were rendered obsolete for clubs, and junk-car smashing events were later made illegal for shattering glass, although there had never been one injury at the events prior. Bon fires were obsolete and lunch crew contracts with the school violated Students’ civil rights by making it against the rules for Students or Student Clubs to bring food onto campus for meetings.

The worst of these regulations, however would be an amendment made to the CalEd codes prohibiting volunteers from organizing to fulfill the duties of a position that had been vacated due to layoffs. When the economy crashed, our school had a budget crisis, as did many other schools. This ushered in many, many pink slips, and the first department to go was the library.

On a brand-new campus, our brand-new library and computer lab had to be shut down just one and a half school years after it had been finished. The PTA protested and the Leadership Class volunteered its time to help, but the Dixon Unified School District decided that it would not protest the clause in CalEd.  So the library sat collecting dust, inaccessible by students for a year and a half, despite many being willing to organize to fulfill the duties formerly performed by the librarians.

To this day, the Leadership Class and club membership have not fully recovered. The Leadership Class was forced to cancel its Winter Ball this year and can only see even more cuts to events in the future as contracts will be redrawn for Administrators that will further overstep students rights and continue to strangle out any last shred of individualism and self-governance by students at Dixon High. Heck, at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a contract that banned brown-bag lunches…There’s nothing like tyranny for your own good, is there?

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