Council Debates Portal Closing for End of First Quarter, Religious Holidays Motion – Council Update (11/7/2018)

Council delved into two major issues in the most recent meeting, the closing of the portal, and the Religious Holidays Motion. As first quarter grades were about to be released, Council discussed how long the portal had been closed for and whether or not the portal should be closed for as long as currently mandated.

Some Representatives expressed their satisfaction with the current 8 day period of the portal being closed. DSB Rep. Oliver Minshall argued that the current practice is sensible, and Sophomore Rep. Ellie Stannard added that the portal closing has decreased her stress a lot. Staff Rep. Mr. Bourne explained to Council that the end of the first quarter is a very stressful time for teachers since letters of recommendation take forever to write. He also added that if the portal wasn’t closed, each time he uploaded new grades kids would freak out as their grades fluctuated.

Nonetheless, many student representatives took issue with the portal closure. Junior Representative Trevor Siegel pointed to the fact that he is a very stressed person and that the portal closing just adds stress. Rep. Siegel suggested that maybe the portal should just close at the end of a semester. Junior Rep. Tessa Stewart continued on this subject by saying that it stresses her out when the portal closes with some major projects still ungraded, as these projects could completely change her grade. Senior Rep. Mason Winter added that there shouldn’t be many assignments at the end of a quarter that could force major changes in grades, so the portal closing shouldn’t leave students with a lot of uncertainty. Staff Rep. Ms. Good refuted this point by saying that most professors in college take forever to grade major assignments, and since HHS is so much about preparing students for the future, this should not be a major issue. Council then completely shifted its focus to the Religious Holidays Motion.

Brought by Freshman Representative Alex Rockmore, the motion would prevent major school events from being scheduled on four major religious holidays and would put restrictions on homework and classwork allotted on those days. Rep. Rockmore said that every year he ends up doing more and more homework on Rosh Hashanah. Assistant Moderator Romaney Granizo-MacKenzie noted that a very similar motion was brought two years ago and failed. Rep. Minshall argued that for him to be able to vote for the motion, he would require an assessment from the school district’s attorney on the motion, deeming that it was lawful. Rep. Minshall continued that the motion gets into difficult issues such as having to define what qualifies as religious observance and a religious holiday.

Other issues included the possible creation of an Ad Hoc Committee on Communication and the setting up of a Council suggestion box. The motion to create an Ad Hoc Committee failed as representatives argued Council should work on improving current lines of communication with the student body through the Public Relations Officer, currently, Leila Trummel, and multiple representatives argued the motion wasn’t specific on the role of the committee and its potential scope.

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