MV lifts Code White, but what prompted its three day enforcement?


Friday afternoon, Mr. Rowdy Fatheree released an email stating that the Code White will be lifted starting on Monday and that MV would return to a Code Green starting on April 8. This was following a three day period under Code White.

Two days earlier, on Wednesday April 3, MV students and staff learned of an incident that had occured before school in the cafeteria. The incident involved a student altercation and pepper spray.  
MV has been labeled as a “reactive” school by students and some members of the community, and this unfortunately continues. After the incident, MV reacted with issuing a Code White, which restricts students from leaving the classroom during class for any reason. Including using the restroom, and going to other areas of campus.

A Code White has been issued before, and in past cases the Code White remained in effect until the end of the day, but was removed the next day.

So, the next morning on Thursday April 4, students were confused that MV remained under a Code White.

Many students were bothered by the Code White because it prevents them from completing important tasks, using the restroom, and running errands for teachers. However, many teachers are in support of the Code White because it cuts down on nonsense in the hallways, which many students and teachers blame for fights. However, not all teachers support the policy continuing as it had.

On Friday April 5, students were informed by an announcement during the beginning part of first hour that MV was still under Code White.

What was the point of the indefinite Code White? Was the administration trying to perhaps test out a permanent Code White policy to see how it will affect behavior, or was the pepper spray incident such a high profile and intense situation that restrictions needed to remain in place for three days? Is the answer something entirely different?

MV is moving in the opposite direction, it seems. In terms of removing students’ freedom, step one included the move from the former open campus, to the new closed campus. Step two involved a shift away from the model of high behavioral expectations for accountability and respect, espoused by former longtime superintendent Dr. Pat Garrett. These steps, combined with many smaller steps along the way, such as the new cell phone policy, the hat policy, and others, has resulted in what we have now: Students who do not enjoy school and dread coming because of pages of rules and stipulations, Code Whites, and above all: Little expectation, except that students are going to misbehave, and the only solution for that that the administration can come up with, it seems, is more rules.

Teachers and students continue to ask questions like: Why were we under a Code White for three days? Did it help? And what procedures, besides the Code White, is the administration taking to prevent further incidents like the one involving pepper spray. (Notice the word “prevent” not “react.”)

Students: First of all, the most obvious question: Why are we pepper spraying one another? Can we not come to school, learn, socialize with friends and then go home? Must we attack one another? These are all rhetorical questions, of course. It may take a change in student behavior to make the administration realize that more rules is not the answer. Although students are now expected to act like children, prove that statement wrong.

MV has to find a way to move from reacting to being proactive. According to many staff members and community members, the old way worked best: Hold students to a higher standard. Don’t expect them to misbehave, rather, expect them to behave, and let them know that you expect this behavior. Explain to them that the quality of this high school is too high, and students have  too many opportunities to treat it like some students do.