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GUEST COMMENTARY: Time for change

December 30, 2011
Joanna Politi Senior, Lake Placid High School

The chaos occurring within the walls of Lake Placid High School is no secret to many of you local residents. As a senior within this school district, I feel unhappy, disheartened, unsafe and unwelcome by particular members of the administration. After reading the past article that was released, in which the female teachers of the district, the elementary school in particular, were referred to as "bitches," I have begun to question the respect of women within this school.

I understand that we live in a man-dominated society, but that will never change until women prove themselves as the powerful individuals that they are, as many are clearly attempting to demonstrate. To disrespect their efforts by preventing them the chance to prove themselves is not only hindering society and the overall benefit to numerous individuals; it is truly wrong, and unfair. Yes, the world is unfair and people are certainly entitled to voice their opinions, just as I am, but when so many young adults are being impacted by private affairs, something needs to be done.

The example being set within this school from higher-up officials is disturbing and disgusting, not to mention unprofessional. As a female student, I should not feel uncomfortable walking the halls and expressing myself about the ongoing issues that are affecting my school. Nor should I have to wonder whether or not I am being defined as a "miniature bitch" or a "bitch in the making," simply due to the fact that I am a woman with strong opinions, and an even stronger voice to express them with. This is the example being set. What are the boys within our school being taught, that it is OK to treat women in a demeaning manner simply because we have different reproductive organs? I will never be silent because a man tells me to, nor will I ever stand down to a higher authority because I fear the repercussions when something is clearly wrong. Yet there are other individuals who may be impacted by these occurrences, and this must be prevented in the future.

I have asked my female classmates, and I am not alone in this feeling. We have been hurt, and we have been disrespected. We may not have been directly involved in that statement, but we still take deep offense from these horrible generalizations. An apology may have soothed some of the scorn felt by the teachers, but we as students have not felt any regret on behalf of the speaker in regard to his statement's impact on us.

Some of you may wonder why we are upset from these claims. The reason that I myself am personally upset is because some of these teachers are the greatest women I've ever encountered. There should never have been a reason to refer to them with the use of such slander when they have had such a powerful impact on my life and many others. In my opinion, if this statement was made in regard to the elementary school staff, it also relates to the high school staff, without even being said. These women have persevered through so much discrimination and sexist hatred that I admire them greatly and aspire to be as great as many of them are. For them to stay in this school, after being so openly oppressed, illustrates the strength of their character - character that I myself am hoping to develop as I age. They have stuck behind me in every instance of my life, and I will stand behind them throughout all of this chaos for years to come.

For women as spiritually beautiful as the ones within this district to be treated as sub-human beings, I will question the accuracy of our administration to make decisions on our behalf. For change to come, we must begin the change here and now. To allow such despicable sexism to be openly displayed in the 21st century, we have disgraced our ancestors and all they have fought for. I beg you, as taxpayers and residents of our beautiful towns, to stand up for what is right and to prevent such intolerable acts from occurring again. We must remove the bad before it becomes a contagious virus.



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