I love being 18. I’m excited to be able to vote. I can buy lottery tickets and drive after midnight. I can get selected for jury duty and must now make my own doctor’s appointments. I am an adult.
I, however, cannot sign myself out of school. This year, the “Adult Student Acknowledgement of Rights and Shared Responsibilities With Parents,” otherwise known as the “18-Year-Old Declaration,” took away the privilege awarded to all other past senior classes at GM.
This Declaration allows Mustang adults to exercise a grand total of three responsibilities, including (and limited to), signing one’s own field trip forms, getting questioned by police without your parents there, and not needing a parent signature for a parking pass if you have your own car.
So essentially, nothing changes.
This year’s 18-Year-Old Declaration is noticeably different than the “Adult Student Acknowledgement of Rights and Shared Responsibilities With Parents” that permitted the 2016 seniors more privileges. Last year’s document permitted adult seniors to sign themselves out of school for an excused absence, such as an illness, doctor’s appointment, or family trip.
According to last year’s Declaration, Mason seniors last year who had signed this from were “responsible for calling in absences, but the rules for unexcused absences are the same…”.
The 2016-2017 Declaration, however, is different, stating that “For all excused absences, the student must provide confirmation from a parent or guardian (email, written or phone) or a doctor’s note.”
At the age of 18, I have to make my own doctor’s appointments, I can’t just rely on my parents to schedule them for me. I have to drive myself to my appointments, and take the responsibility to go to teachers after if I missed class. Yet, my mother still needs to write me a note dismissing me from class, as if I were still in fifth grade.
Last year’s seniors abused their privileges. However, rather than revoke the privileges of individuals last year, the administration has decided to go to the extreme and take the privilege away from the entirety of the class of 2017.
This is, plain and simple, reactionary. The admin is punishing the class of 2017 for the misdeeds of the class of 2016. The new administration is trying to assert its authority over the student body.
In an interview with The Lasso, Mason administration vehemently denied that the faults of the class of 2016 were the reasons for the change in 18 year-old declaration.
However, within the first week of school, the Mason admin announced the changes of this policy. Without even giving us a chance to prove our responsibility, they decided to give us the watered-down and essentially pointless new declaration, which very little of the senior class has even bothered to sign.
Despite the fact that the class of 2016 behaved recklessly and irresponsibly with regards to their senior privileges, the class of 2017 has given no indication that we would not be able to rise to the occasion and use these privileges responsibility.
As seniors, as adults, we deserve what every class before us has gotten.