Dear High School

Dear High School: I’ll state it blatantly: you have room for improvement. Don’t take it personally; I know you mean well. It’s just that you make the next generation feel confused, angry, and generally sick to its stomach. With a few tweaks, though, you could be on the road to success.

First of all, High School, your students belong to a delicate age group that is commonly disliked and misunderstood. They are not adults; do not treat them like they are. Likewise, they are not children, and treating them as children will only enhance their natural inclination toward defiance and general crankiness. And do we really want that? Second of all, your reward system is a disaster. Rather than congratulating students who challenge themselves with AP and Honors classes, you proceed to bombard them with an excess of homework on school holidays. Really, High School, “summer vacation” is called a “vacation” for a reason.

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If we were supposed to do homework over our much-anticipated June – August break, we would call it “summer deprivation”. Speaking of homework, High School, yours makes your students want to set their schoolwork on fire for the savage pleasure of watching it burst into flames. Actually, I know of several students who have done just that, and although they take their anger out on the paperwork, you are really to blame. Homework does play a role in teaching, yes, but six hours of homework a night only makes students want to either burst into tears or rebel against the school system. High School, the age group that you have chosen to host needs sleep in order to function: more specifically, nine hours a night.

Your decision to start at 8 a.m. five days a week is ludicrous, as your students not only have to work on homework late into the night, but have to get up at an ungodly hour the next morning as well. For heaven’s sake, High School, how hard is it to start two hours later? Furthermore, your staff is both underpaid and underappreciated. They have to spend their days in the presence of sassy teenagers who spend class time complaining, napping, or willing the clock to move faster.

Often, they have to buy supplies for their classes with their own money, because you, High School, can’t find it in yourself to raise their annual budget over $20. Extensive testing and homework-assigning aside, teachers deserve more credit than they get. Please don’t be offended, High School. You have a lot to offer. You already provide a safe place for your attendees to take shelter from harm, and I admire you for that. However, you are also a breeding ground for your own brand of harm.

By making these simple changes, I assure you that the benefits will exceed the cost of improving. You mean well, High School. I believe in you. Best regards, A victim of your injustice