I want everyone to give kudos to Vignesh Markandu, a graduating student at my former high school, who left his final high school year with a bang — by delivering a speech in front of the school that slammed the principal, and the administration.
Since he gave the speech Monday afternoon (I’m a bit late to the story, I had virtually no internet access since Sunday) many people have written celebratory posts on his Facebook wall, showing that he is not alone in his feelings about the school and the approach it takes towards students and their opinions. (An online petition has started, which has already amassed 140 signatures as of this writing.)
When I went to Central, the issues Vignesh outlined in his speech were even prominent then. A Principal that was noticably out of touch with the student body, a distinct condecentary tone from the administration, a basic idea that the student populous and their opinions were largely unimportant and pointless, because - face it - they’re just teenagers. What do they know.
The Principal after hearing the speech, told the London Free Press’ Jennifer O’Brien essentially that he, and the administration, had no idea that the students felt this way (why would they, they didn’t listen to us) and that he was “very disappointed by the speech.”
To which I reply with a big “yeah right.”
The administration repeatedly did things, mostly things that didn’t make sense, without even asking, or caring, what the students thought. “Student parking? They wouldn’t care if we just made it unavailable here or there would they? Ah hell, why not make it unavailable altogether. School dances? They wouldn’t notice if we just made them total shit, would they? Eh, who cares.”
I’m sure most of the changes and decisions that the administration made were direct from the school board, which wouldn’t surprise me given all the other nonsensical things the board has done over the years, but the school administration should have at least given the student body the chance to voice their opinion on things that would affect their time throughout high school, one of the most stressing and disappointing of experiences.
“I personally dislike the condescending tone Mr. Robertson takes with his students, and his inability to look any of us in the eye when we speak to him,” said one student to Vignesh. His inability to look any of us in the eye? Mr Robertson, when the students notice that you cannot even give them the courtesy of eye contact when you are taking to them, it shows that not only do you and the administration lack respect towards the students, you lack even the most common of manners.
Markandu’s speech is transcribed in full. (Click ‘read more’ if on dashboard)