Junior year can best be described as stressful. While seniors are done with college applications, freshmen are enjoying the excitement of being in high school, and sophomores are just plain having fun, juniors are forced to take the SAT or ACT, write tedious research papers, and realize that schools they have dreamed of attending are “reaches” for them. Junior year is a notoriously difficult and stressful time, and so, one day was created as a sort of reward for juniors. This day says “hang in there,” “you’re doing great,” “you’re almost done!” It has united the grade and created a feeling of community. We all know what this day is: Junior Olympics.
The event, which was originally held for seniors, has been a tradition in the high school since the 1980s. It is the one time high school students can reunite with their elementary school friends and engage in a friendly competition with all of their peers. It is a rite of passage. This year, based on the actions of around 10% of the junior class, Junior Olympics was canceled for the whole grade. In other words, the actions of just a few were said to represent a whole body of people. Is this just?
I understand the administration’s position in this matter. I agree that they should not let Junior Olympics get out of hand as it did last year. But I think there are ways to deal with such a matter that don’t involve its cancellation. For example, the school can subject students to sobriety tests, conducted by the police, as a condition for participation.
It is understandable that the administration believes that the actions of juniors in the gridlock may reflect how our class will act in the future. But here’s what I don’t understand: why doesn’t the school just ban the people involved in the inappropriate aspects of the gridlock from competing in Junior Olympics? The school is relying on the fact that peers will pressure one another into not misbehaving themselves, rather than taking matters into their own hands. The 90% of students not involved in the inappropriate chants should not be punished because some of their peers were immature. In addition, although the administration claimed that the students were “warned,” the majority of juniors heard nothing about this warning. Somewhere along the way, this message was not transferred to the junior class, so for the future, it might be a good idea to either make an announcement or have teachers read something to their classes letting them know there will be consequences for the sort of behavior some of the juniors exhibited.
Our school is using the actions of some to justify the whole. Our school is relying on peer pressure to overcome this situation. I ask you again, is this just?