Common Courtesy

We are constantly taught how to be better students, better athletes and better artists, but not necessarily better people. Every Wednesday, speakers at All-School Meeting remind us of our motto, non sibi, the success of Non Sibi Day and the spirit of community service. However, students should practice this ideal beyond designated time periods. We as a community must address the unfortunately typical substandard behavior that seems to pervade our campus. As students, we have the responsibility to respect and maintain school property. All across campus, however, there is evidence of students’ blatant lack of respect for community space. Commons tables are strewn with dirty cups and half-eaten bowls of cereal; on Trayless Tuesday, the dining halls are left in careless disarray. Students frequently deface various desks, bathroom stalls and school furniture. The lamps in the Garver and Freeman Rooms are stained with profanity. Our disrespect for our surroundings has become all too evident. As members of a community, we should respect everyone with whom we share our campus, especially the adults who care for us. Too many staff members are treated not just with indifference, but with rudeness. The janitors who clean up after us face unwarranted uncleanliness. The PAPS officers who look out for our safety must put up with indignant teenage attitudes. Commons workers are presented not only with unnecessary messiness, but also with aloofness and even occasional animosity. At times, we even tend to question and slander the credibility of qualified medical professionals at Isham. This treatment of staff is unacceptable and just plain sad. As human beings, we owe it to each other to live up to certain standards of common decency. But on occasion, everyday courtesies are forgotten. Students frequently pass their peers on the path without so much as a glance. Doors go unheld. Commons lines are cut. Quiet area policies are not observed. This disrespect for our peers is unfortunate and wrong. Somehow, when outside of the classroom and required activities, we hold ourselves to a lower standard of behavior. We often forget the significance of our actions toward property, space and most importantly, individuals. It’s true that we’re no longer in elementary school; we’re not graded on how well we share our crayons or get along with others. But acting with decency and integrity should endure beyond kindergarten classrooms. What’s more, in high school, respect should transcend grades and test scores. Although it is a responsibility of the administration, as a leading body, to provide its students with guidance in the practice of common courtesy, the solution for this problem cannot be accomplished by the administration alone. It is ultimately the students’ responsibility to embody the spirit of the Andover Constitution. After all, “goodness without knowledge is weak…yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous.”