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The Wildcat Tribune

Mr Wildcat Moment of Silence

Aditi Sanghavi, Staff Writer

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After student protest, DV Administration agreed to allow a moment of silence for lives lost around the world due to recent tragedies during the Mr. Wildcat show on Mar. 31.

After the bombings in Turkey and Pakistan, several students felt emotionally affected and requested to have a moment of silence held for lives lost. However, this request wasoriginally denied.

DV administration claimed they would be unable to hold the moment of silence on the basis that if it was held for one attack, they would have to do it for all attacks.

Because moments of silence were held for both attacks on Brussels and Paris, many students felt outraged, and this frustration spread.

Senior Nanki Grewal was especially frustrated, expressing in her blog: “Why does it become an issue of equality when Pakistan is brought up? Why, when a nation in the East suffers, does the West turn its eyes? Why does mourning Pakistan threaten the attention given to other attacks?” (nankigrewal.blogspot.com).

Her blog began to gather more views and support, as the bombings in these specific countries hit home with students, especially since a considerable amount of the DV population originate from affected countries.

AP Comparative Government teacher and TSA for Culturally Responsive Teaching, Mr. Jon Parks, recognizes this connection, stating, “Comparative states help us realize that we often identify with certain populations implicitly. The national media often does a poor job of recognizing who this “we” is, and causes discomfort by representing our culture’s horror as more significant than another. Our population at DVHS is more affected because we feel the pain of 90 humans dying in Turkey and 70 in Pakistan acutely.”

As the frustration spread, administration was flooded with student emails in support of a moment of silence. Taking into account the students’ beliefs and concerns, Principal Daniel Hillman spoke with Grewel and Leadership, ultimately allowing the moment of silence.

“The decisions to allow a moment of silence in the past during announcements, and the decision to not do that going forward, were both reactions to student comments and questions. The moment of silence at Mr. Wildcat was also a response to student request,” Hillman clarified.

Prior to the Pakistani and Turkish attacks, many students voiced their belief that they did not understand the purpose of these moments of silence.   

Hillman addressed this concern, stating, “We engage in certain activities as a school and not everyone is 100 percent clear on why we do what we do. Instead of clarifying intentions, people assume that value judgments are being made about certain groups on campus at the expense of others. That is simply not true. The reality is that we can’t win no matter what decision we make. The only thing we can do is explain why we make [our] decisions so that people understand that we do put thought into things.”

Administration welcomed the student response invoked by the misunderstanding, encouraging more students to stand up for their beliefs.

“The admin team was so impressed with how students advocated for their beliefs in such a compelling way. It’s clear that this is something that really matters to students,” stated Assistant Principal Megan Moilanen.

Both Hillman and Moilanen recognize the difference in demographics between administration and the student body. However, they assure that they only have its best interests in mind when making decisions.

“While I consider myself a very inclusive and educated person, I know that there are parts of my background that are very different than the backgrounds of students that I work with. However, I don’t think that it’s something that we should shy away from, but something that we should talk about and should seek understanding around,” stated Moilanen.

Hillman concurs, stating, “We are a very diverse school with lots of different viewpoints, opinions and priorities. Our goal is to try to reflect all of those sometimes conflicting viewpoints into a school community that embraces everyone, even if they don’t agree. At the very least, we want everyone to understand that they don’t all have to agree and that the school will listen if they have something to say.”

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
Mr Wildcat Moment of Silence