8th graders need to be included

Just 40 years ago, girls at MHS were not recognized for their athletic ability or even allowed to compete in many cases, but that changed with the implementation of Title IX (see related story on page 9). For current students, not having female athletics probably seems as archaic as cassette players and boom boxes. But times change, and many changes are for the better. Changes which promote equality and inclusion are good for society and our schools. Though it does not always happen, schools should be a safe place where all feel welcomed and a part of the community. This means eighth graders, too.
For a third year at Marshfield, eighth grade students have been roaming the halls as Pirates. However, one may argue they are not noticed among the student body. Eighth graders did not have a choice in the school change and with the environment change being already hard enough, being accepted by older students is still an issue lingering through the school. Recognition for sports, dances and other activities have been limited for the young class and this should be addressed.

While some students have said the eighth graders do not get enough attention, others said they get too much for being a young class. They have also said eighth graders should have to wait like the current upperclassmen did to acquire more recognition in school activities. Some people have even gone beyond and said the eighth graders do not belong in a high school, but with the current schooling situation, removing the eighth grade class is not an option.

The transition from being in an elementary environment straight to high school is scary enough for a student, and the extra recognition could be reassuring that they are welcome at MHS. When their class is not introduced for their activities during assemblies or the like, they may assume upperclassmen do not like them or want them there, and although that may be the case for some older students, everyone in school has been taught to respect each other since kindergarten and should continue to do so even if they do not agree with their school arrangements. MHS encourages Pirate Pride and should follow along the rules following it to be a better example and treat the young students as if they were the same age.

If eighth graders stay in the high school configuration, hopefully one day they will simply be seen as a regular part of the high school. Like not having female athletes in the past seems like another world, hopefully the people of MHS will embrace the eighth graders, treat them as equals and not be able to imagine their high school without them.