Belts, tucked-in shirts, the disappearance of iPhones. The halls of Haverford have felt the administration’s increased focus. Many ask the question “why?”…and few are happy with the answer.
While emphasizing school rules is routine, entering the 2022-2023 school year, students detected a definite change in the air. The rules are coming up more frequently and are seeming to be taken more seriously. The student body is used to being told they can’t go off campus and that they may not wear sneakers, but yet until this year, those “rules” did not necessarily stop certain students.
Students question the new rules, but Head of Upper School Mark Fifer insists that these rules are not new, just a return to normalcy.
“It’s not as if we created new policies, it’s just that nobody has really had to encounter them before,” explained Mr. Fifer. “The last two years there hasn’t been as much of a focus on amplifying these policies because we’ve had to amplify other policies like wearing a mask and staying six feet apart.”
With all of the commotion of the last couple of years, there is only one class at Haverford that had any pre-COVID time in high school: the Sixth Form. “The seniors are the only ones who have any pre-pandemic institutional knowledge,” Fifer said. “They were here from September to March, as freshmen and they kind of knew what it was like. Otherwise, all the grades have been in this pandemic-related context.”
Teachers who would never have asked you to tuck in your shirt now are making it a sticking point that their students are in uniform, and it’s not just teachers, some students also have been encouraging the dress code; one of those students is Student Body President Luka Sekulić.
“I am enforcing the dress code as much as possible, and I believe that everyone at Haverford should follow the dress code,” Sekulić said. “I am speaking up at assemblies and if I see you in the hallway with an untucked shirt, I’ll probably give a suggestion you tuck it in.”
The measure of the effectiveness with this will be how we are talking about this not on September 13th but what this place looks like on October 6th and laterMr. Mark Fifer
While he supports the dress code and other policies, Sekulić didn’t have a say in its implementation and understands student annoyance.
“Students have a right to be confused and upset because the last two and a half years, the dress code hasn’t been so strict,” said Sekulić. “I will say that it’s something we have to get back to, and the point of this year is to bring back the good things that were lost in COVID, but also maintain the things that we liked during COVID.”
For many, the new policies don’t make sense and do not have a practical application.
“I understand the desire to build community, but I don’t really see how teachers coming in and yelling at us to get in dress code and not have our phones while walking from class to class is helping to build community,” said Sixth Former Ebaad Khan. Other students such as Sixth Former Aedan Shea have barely noticed the shift in policies.
“This year it seems like the administration is talking about these policies way more, but other than that, everything seems pretty much the same.”
“The measure of the effectiveness with this will be how we are talking about this not on September 13th but what this place looks like on October 6th and later,” Mr. Fifer said.
While these things may not be new, there is a definite change. The goal of the administration is to build community, but questions arise as to how long it can keep it up. The faculty pushes it, and Sekulić encourages it, but how long will the students tolerate it? For the majority, this is a new process, but according to Sekulić, “It’s something that defines our school.”
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