The following is an open letter to the Mercer Island High School principal:
I wanted to reach out to you about the sad trend that is slowly killing MIHS school spirit — political correctness. First however, I want to say that I love Mercer Island, I love our community and most importantly, I love our school. Our school and community are unique and very special. My grandparents (my dad’s parents) and both my parents all graduated from MIHS, so I am a third generation Islander. I think that’s pretty neat. Unfortunately, in my three years at MIHS I’ve noticed our school gradually change in ways that are stifling our school’s spirit.
There are several examples that illustrate the trend, but first I want to talk about our class dance from the recent homecoming assembly. I’ve know Scotty Rowe, Donnie Howard, Ty Robinson, Stew Vassau and Ben Dunbar since elementary school, and they remain some of my best friends. I know their intentions were not what the faculty concluded. The boys dressed in costume as the Spice Girls while a Spice Girl’s song played behind them. By no means were they dressed as men transitioning into women. It is actually hard to even understand how any rational person could have drawn that conclusion. As I understand it, the faculty was attempting to protect transgender students.
I am not transgender, so naturally I do not understand what transitioning is like. I imagine that it must be very hard, especially in high school. The faculty’s overreaction in shutting down the skit and publicly shaming five boys for dressing in costume seems to bring more attention to the situation and likely made transitioning kids feel more awkward and insecure. The faculty turned a mole hill into a mountain in a strained attempt to act as the P.C. police. It is silly to think that we must protect anyone from seeing boys dressed as girls or girls as dressed as boys. If this school is becoming so politically correct and censored that boys cannot dance in costumes, where does it end? What if a group of girls were dancing to a Beatles song, would those girls not be allowed to dress in costume in men’s clothes? It is simply absurd to draw that conclusion.
The gradual erosion of other traditions in the name of political correctness is killing our school spirit, too. My fellow students and I pride ourselves on our school spirit: we deck out in maroon and white at least every Friday, and cheer on our peers in nearly every sport. As upperclassmen now, we have been taught the traditions of Mercer Island and have the privilege of carrying these traditions on to make our underclassmen’s high school experience just as special as ours has been.
Some of the fun traditions that the faculty appear to be targeting are the flag dudes’ silence at assemblies, rumors of girls joining the flag dudes next year, boys joining drill team and the cheerleaders not being able to follow “SENIOR POWER!” chant with the traditional “SUCKS!” These simple rituals and traditions make Mercer Island such a fun high school, and are part of why we love our school and continue to support our school and our athletics. By restricting our small traditions, we worry about the big ones, but more importantly, we worry about what our school spirit will become. The games are already noticeably quieter. The cheers are vanilla. The spirit evaporating. All we ask is for some common sense to challenge the political correctness.
Thank you, and as always, go MI.