P-Week Parent-Student Meetings: The Students Speak Out

Mehr Singh & Rachel Stone Co-Sports Editor & Co-Features Editor We had been warned. For years we saw the signs, and now the days of reckoning are upon us. P-Week is no longer an affair between teachers and students, but a third party has now become involved: parents. It is now mandatory for students signed up for a Project Week abroad to meet with a faculty member along with their parents, in order for them to be more involved in the process. In the past, parents were simply needed to sign a contract and authorize the decision. True to form, along with this change in procedure came a rise in judgments and opinions from the student body. Sophomore Gavin Hilder exemplified the view of many students when he remarked that this new decision felt like “a slap in the face; it is obvious now that the faculty does not believe in us.” He argues that the only reason the administration pushed the involvement of parents was because the students could not be trusted to be out of the country. Gavin went on to question why these meetings “have not been the case for a while now with out of town project weeks, regardless of whether they are abroad or in the U.S.” We have proven that we cannot be held to rules and regulations of our school across state lines, and past evidence does nothing to refute this. However, are the wrongdoings of our alumni reason enough for the faculty to lose trust in us all? According to Senior Vikram Murthi, they are not. In his opinion, “It isn’t necessarily bad to have parental input on p-week, but it is again a reaction by the administration that is focused on punishing all rather than the few.” Regardless of the issues of liability and reputation, “the honest-to-god truth is that most people on project week don’t engage in school inappropriate behavior and that to simply blanket everyone with the punishment deserved to the few who did participate in said behavior only increases resentment in the student body.” He adds that “parents attending p-week meetings aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is indicative of a culture that is based less on trust and more on punishment.” However, some members of the student body were more optimistic in terms of the new third party involved. Senior Adrian [EDITED: Chiem] believes that this concern on the part of the administration is warranted. As he states cleverly, “If my hypothetical child were leaving the country or even the city, I’d want to know where they were going and what they were doing. Perhaps for some, this is seen as a lack of trust, but allowing your child to help birth lambs across the ocean for a week shows trust in itself.” As teenagers, it is part of our nature to find fault with anything stifling our independence. However, Freshman Victoria Lancaster puts things into perspective as she mentions how “sometimes parents need to be involved, and this involvement doesn’t necessarily mean a loss of student trust and independence.”]]>