Theater steps reopened

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After reading about the closing of the theater steps in the Sept. 25 print edition of The Oracle, junior Brian Olazaba, decided to begin a campaign to reopen the steps for students to sit on during brunch and lunch.

The theater steps were closed to students at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year due to litter and behavioral issues from past years. The article, “Theater steps off limits,” explained how the new rule was “in response to an unwelcome environment created while the steps were used as a lunchtime hangout.”

Beginning in November, Olazaba and his friends, Joel Navarro, Jose Arreola, and Alvaro Torres, met with principal David Grissom and vice principal William Blair to discuss the reopening of the steps. During these meetings, Grissom explained to the students why the steps were originally closed, citing the same issues disclosed previously in addition to girls breaking the dress code. In response, the four boys spoke about why they thought the steps should be opened again.

“I feel like everyone at Mountain View High School deserves a second chance,” Olazaba said, “I felt it was ridiculous to close [the steps]because that’s where people get a ride from their parents and get dropped off. The second reason I wanted to open the theater steps is that in case it rains, people have the roof to cover them, so they don’t end up getting wet.”

After discussing, administration agreed to reopen the theater steps for a trial period between Jan. 20 and Feb. 2. After this trial period, administration will meet and reevaluate whether the steps should remain open.

According to Blair, administration wanted “to honor student voice and… student leadership” but there are “still strong reservations on administration’s end.”

Guidelines were drawn up that include positive strategies for peers and administration to overcome potential challenges that could arise.

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“It doesn’t feel like it’s administration versus students, but it’s a collaborative experience and we’re jointly creating safe space on campus,” Blair said.

Olazaba hopes that this safer environment can be created by getting to know more students at the school.

“[Since the reopening] everything’s been super smooth and I think the folks on the stairs have been very congenial and positive and it’s been a very positive experience,” Blair said.

Blair also explained that he was proud of the students for stepping forward to work with administration about something they cared about and wanted to change.

“I think regardless of what happens with the theater steps we’ve built a very strong and trusting and supportive relationship and that’s beautiful,” Blair said, “If ultimately administration needs to close the stairs I think our student leaders will understand.”

Jenna Webster
Jenna, a senior, is excited for her second year in Oracle. When not doing college apps she enjoys dancing, going to Giants games, and adventuring with her friends.
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2 Comments

  1. Mr. Grissom is a racist principle. I say this as a white ally — maybe since I’m white, he will more interested in my voice than the marginalized students affected by his actions in this case. This is a race and social class issue that brings up the inclusion, support, and equitable treatment of marginalized students at MVHS. We must see it as such to have an honest conversation about what’s going on at MVHS and whether MVHS is supporting all of its students — not just the white ones with affluent, employed, college-educated parents. It is important to recognize — and I believe Mr. Grissom fails to recognize — privileged students are excelling behaviorally and academically only because they are more advantaged, not because they are ~better people~

    Because MVHS is so predominantly privileged, students not as comfortably situated in the existing culture of MVHS or Mr. Grissom’s narrow minded visions for our school are excluded in classes, social life, etc (and YES! Oracle article content material too!), they at least deserve a space to socialize and find community. If that space is the theater steps, let them have the theater steps. Or put money into a new space and resources!

    Behavioral issues should be taken not only at face value but also more thoughtfully within the context of socioeconomic status and systemic racism that is still present at our school.