Forums Explore Hot Button Issues in Upper School

Today Upper Schoolers gathered in their choice of five forums to communicate their opinions to ASB, who will report on these to the school administration. The forums included diversity, hair color, uniforms, food and miscellaneous.


In the ASB forum about diversity, a discussion arose about how, despite the fact Annie Wright is a diverse community, “pockets” or cliques seem to form. The Upper School represents a lot more ethnicities, socioeconomic classes, and overall backgrounds than can be found in many high schools. The group argued, however, that there are clear divisions, for example between day and dorm students and between ethnic groups.

The diversity forum recognized the disparity between these different groups of people and noted that diversity really means nothing if students aren’t mingling and learning from each other. The forum discussed different ways to bridge that gap, ways that didn’t feel forced or mandated. Even as the discussion came to a close, students seemed eager to keep discussing, and glad that the the topic of diversity in the Annie Wright community was breached in such an honest, open way.

-Maya Arigala

At the “self-expression” forum, students voiced their opinions about whether or not they should be allowed to dye their hair, and where the line should be drawn. Many students argued that there is a gray area about what the rules are now, and the forum was helpful in explaining that we are in a grace period until October 5, when the new rules will go into effect.

In one sub-group, many people agreed that only tips or dip dyed hair should be allowed, and that if the student doesn’t stand out or attract attention due to bright hair, then it is acceptable. They agreed that the rule should include specific colors, length, and consequences of not following the rule so that it is clear to the students what they need to do. Students went on to recommend that if a girl breaks the rule and colors her entire head of hair a vibrant color, she should be sent home until she changes it, as it is unfair to other students who are following the rules, even though they might feel strongly about coloring their hair.

The students expressed their appreciation of the forum because it was a small group, which meant their voices were heard and it was easier to discuss rather than having the entire Upper School together. They also expressed their excitement to see whether or not the administration will take their opinions into account.

– Emmanuelle Beaurpere and Lexy Sullivan

Another group of girls in the self expression forum brought up how on multiple occasions they have been asked to leave class or have been late to class in order to go take out their septum piercings, which is said to be a fairly complicated process. Students voiced how to them this comes across as the administration putting their appearance above their education.

Another student spoke about how with the new policies, she feels as if faculty members no longer see her as a student to teach, but as a symbol for a dress-code violation, stating that oftentimes teachers look immediately to her nose before acknowledging her, in search of an out-of-uniform nose piercing, regardless of if the piercing is present or not.

Most of the girls in the group came to a head-nodding conclusion that Upper School students should be able to dye their hair and have facial piercings, but that if that is not an option then perhaps the administration should cite some official boundaries and increase the level of transparency with the student body.

-Katie Erickson