AMI, let’s call the whole thing off.

AMI, let's call the whole thing off.

Trista Groark, Co-Editor

Due to the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19, Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, has granted all high school seniors as having met graduation requirements, and, as such, they are finishing the 2020 school year more than a month before their scheduled last day (as long as they are passing all of their classes), while the rest of the state’s school population is required to continue courses electronically. This is an unfortunate judgment because the social distancing order will limit the quality of undisciplined students’ work and this is most discriminatory toward students fighting mental illnesses. Because of the stress associated with such trying times, all students should be allowed to finish the year early.

Due to the understood, social distancing ‘stay at home’ rules that have been set for many states, including Arkansas, it can become quite difficult to produce work that strongly represents their abilities when prompted with an assignment. Students who are stuck inside their homes may find it difficult to complete certain assignments and/or projects due to not having the materials needed in order to have a good quality finished product. Not having as much opportunity to go out and buy supplies from a store due to limited stock or high prices can very much limit a student’s ability to get things done the right way. Many students have reported “not being prepared” when it comes to gathering certain items needed ahead of the social isolation rule to create assignments worthy of turning in to their teachers. Lack of materials such as paper, pencils, and Chromebook chargers can make it much harder to successfully get assignments done the correct way and turned in. Technology has recently become a huge part in the daily routine of learning for schools nationwide. Individuals who can not get access to good internet connection have stated how difficult it is to get work done and turned in on time. This can cause a major downfall in students’ GPAs and future when it comes to their graduation. Limitations such as having to stay inside one’s home can put unwanted bumps in the road of education. Completion of varied assignments can be already tough enough, even when individuals have access to technology and internet service; therefore, taking that privilege away from some high schoolers can make the process of getting work done even harder to complete. 

Along with limitations, many students see this decision of early graduation as unfair, because it favors the senior class over the student body as a whole. All high school seniors who are in good standing, have met graduation requirements, meaning they are finished with their 2020 school year almost 2 months early while the rest of the student population has to continue a daily routine of essays, history reports, scientific notation, and math problems. Many scholars have stated their thoughts related to this topic and it isn’t positive feedback. 

“I think it is super unfair that we still have to stress out about meeting a deadline for an assignment while balancing the worry due to the Coronavirus while seniors get to just be done”, Mountain Home High School junior, Logan Quisdorf, said. Some students at MHHS have voiced their opinions on the situation and they aren’t very happy about still being assigned school work during this scary pandemic. 

Some think that the seniors should be the ones who are most focused on when it comes to their high school career. The COVID19 crisis has negatively affected the rest of all students’ finish to this year; however, seniors are at most risk considering that this is the time that they are awaiting college acceptance letters and deciding what career to pursue. Not only because of universities and businesses being closed down, but being written off and put to the side by their school board can decrease the initiative taken by seniors to continue to build their futures. Arkansas’ government should look into their decision of letting seniors graduate while making the rest of the student body continue to do schoolwork again and try to make a revision that better benefits all parties involved in education.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, mental health problems can reduce academic achievement, so, by forcing him or her to maintain successful grades in school during any time of crisis is not the best option. A U.S. college survey indicates that 14% of all students suffer from some form of depression. Add any other burden to that, and coping has proven to become an even greater issue. Ironically, depression is listed as the main reason students drop out of school. 

Simply put, it diminishes a person’s desire to work. This is a problem on a regular school day with teachers on-hand to aid in student apathy. The situation would likely be much more severe with a mentally wounded pupil left to cope alone.  The most dreaded worst-case scenario when a mentally challenged person is challenged beyond his or her means is suicide. This is not an extreme concern when one considers that “4.29 million people who would have graduated from college had they not been experiencing such disorders.” One in five of these students attempt suicide when faced with an abrupt change in their routine (Burrell). For good reason, psychiatrists warn against adding stress to their mentally ill patients, and the horrible truth is that the state’s effort to stretch the school year out to its traditional end will statistically add to the second leading cause of deaths among teenagers in this country (Pane).

When the Arkansas governor made his declaration on behalf of his state’s seniors, it appears that he may not have studied what would be best for the rest of the student body. Because of certain limitations like needing to stay home, having to continue schooling while others aren’t required to, and dealing with certain mental illnesses of being isolated, all high school students in Arkansas should be granted with meeting graduation requirements of their 2020 school year.