Joke’s On You

While this board recognizes that the all-school e-mail declaring a false Head of School Day was disruptive and somewhat inconsiderate, we feel that the response of the administration has been overly critical and unnecessarily harsh. The Phillipian understands the need for the administration to react to such an incident and to attempt to keep order in our large community; however, let us not forget that this incident was nothing more than a relatively harmless prank. Again, we recognize that all pranks by definition cause some disruption, but the nature of this spoof was certainly not as severe and condemnable as the administration has portrayed to the student body. If any part of this week’s events is disheartening, it is the fact that many students and faculty took this far too seriously. On many of the most serious-minded college campuses, students engage in creative pranks as a way to relieve the stress associated with such high-powered academics. To name one recent case, MIT, known as the breeding ground for the world’s best scientists and mathematicians, embraces pranks as part of its heritage and as an outlet for stressed students. Although Andover is a high school, not a college, the same principles apply. We have examined the logistics of this case and found no reasons to constitute the harsh and condemning response of the administration. Was Mrs. Chase’s PAnet hacked into? No. Was Mrs. Chase’s personal e-mail read? No. Was this prank somewhat tasteless? Maybe. Was this prank a joke? Yes. Moreover, this e-mail represents the first time all term that students have had an engaging distraction from the academic monotony associated with Winter Term. Andover’s mantra seems to be “all work and no play,” and the Phillipian hoped that this good-natured prank would let all of us take ourselves a little less seriously. Rumors are running rampant across campus that the tradition of a Head of School Day will be ended because of this incident. Whether or not this rumor is true, the Phillipian urges the administration to recognize that collective punishment is not what is called for here. Simply disbanding the entire idea of Head of School Day punishes a community for the actions of only a few. Head of School Day is meant to foster good spirit and provide a respite for faculty, staff and students alike. We recognize it is a privilege – not a right – but the holiday serves a good purpose for all. Making a mountain out of a molehill serves no real purpose, save to foster animosity and waste even more of everyone’s time. This editorial represents the opinion of the Phillipian Editorial Board.