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MailTribune.com
  • A student reports on her first day of 'school' during the strike

  • After being closed for three consecutive days, the Medford School District has finally reopened — but not in its entirety. Students who arrived at their previously assigned campuses this week were met with a truly heartbreaking sight.
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  • After being closed for three consecutive days, the Medford School District has finally reopened — but not in its entirety. Students who arrived at their previously assigned campuses this week were met with a truly heartbreaking sight.
    Teachers from all over the valley were lined up around each newly reopened school. Middle school students were shipped off to either North or South Medford High School, where they would be "learning" from 1-5 p.m., after the high school students had ended their short, four-hour school day in the morning. There was much debate among us students as to whether this could actually be called "school" — a place for learning and growing as an individual — or if it was just a high-school day care, a place to keep up appearances.
    Being a student myself, I can honestly say that when I went to school this week, I was not going to the place I have grown to love. It wasn't a place of learning and stability as I had always known it to be, and it was most definitely not my school.
    Upon entering the building, I was checked by security to verify that I was a student. Once in the building, I recognized no one.
    I entered my first-period class, which, as with my other three periods, had been randomly assigned for me and did not resemble my normal schedule of classes at all. I then spent the first 45-minute class period watching my substitute teacher get attacked by unhappy and unsatisfied students.
    The poor woman had to answer questions as to why she could be so horrible as to sub for our school; and had to listen to comments about how she was a disgusting, greedy person with no morals, who had taken this job only for the money. Not once did anyone seem to consider that she might just share a different view of the situation, and maybe feel as if her presence might help us.
    If that wasn't enough, I spent the next three hours repeatedly doing packets of work that were just like the ones I had finished in middle school, four years ago. I also saw dozens of students get up in the middle of class and just walk out, not seeming to care at all. By the end of the first day, it seemed like more than 50 percent of the students had decided they would not be coming back to school — at least until the schedules were normal, the subs, security guards and police officers had left, the signs had been put down, the teachers had begun teaching again and the strike had ended.
    So, in sum, this was my first half-day of education this week: I went to school, learned nothing, came close to tears for my poor teachers, saw my administration struggle, listened to stressed and underprepared subs being bullied, and saw a bunch of students and community members pick a side for no clear reason other than to have an opinion.
    This is not the way to learn.
    As a student, I have a right to learn and should be able to do so if I am hard-working and willing. The current situation has taken away that right, at least for now.
    The only thing I have learned this week is how not to solve problems. I hear terrible stories — which may or may not be true — of teachers being rude to other teachers who have crossed the picket line, of administrators not telling the truth to the media, of passersby in cars exclaiming their hatred for picketing teachers who have been supporting their kids — and all I can say is, enough is enough.
    Instead of pointing the finger at one side or the other, it is time we come together as a community to find a solution. We all deserve it. In the end, we all want what is best for our students, our teachers and our community. It is time that everyone tries to understand the other side's perspective.
    So instead of battling each other, let's bring our great teaching, "administrating" and still-learning minds together to figure out what is best for our collective future, without tearing our community apart. Let's show everyone what Medford can really do.
    Sofia Nash is a junior at South Medford High School.
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