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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Staff editorial: Censorship of rallies unfair and excessive

It’s a rumble. Hundreds of students are pounding their feet, cheers heard from across the campus. Four distinct colors represent each class in each corner of the gym; the rally commission has once again met expectations with another engaging and fast-paced event.

Below the cheering bleachers, however, the administration monitors the content closely, watching the laughing commissioners carefully. The script for the rally has been revised and re-revised who knows how many times, and there may still be problems to find.

Despite the numerous hours that the rally commission puts into its scripts and skits, the administration too often disagrees with the kinds of jokes they include. It’s unfair that the rally commission is censored to the point of absurdity, smothered by a perpetually growing stream of rules and regulations.

Most memorable in the latest rally was perhaps the “tarring-and-feathering” of junior rally commissioner Isa Berardo by her friends on the varsity soccer team. Berardo was covered in maple syrup and then plastered with brightly colored feathers, a seemingly harmless joke.

But while most students laughed at the spectacle in delight, the administration saw a connection that few others would have ever noticed. Comparing the maple-syrup-covering to the infamous “tarring-and-feathering” that slaves and colonists feared during the 1700s is more than a bit of a stretch.

The humiliating practice was forced upon anybody who defied social norms, and while it may have been sensitive 300 years ago, it no longer applies now, and it is doubtful that students were actually offended by the joke. In fact, it almost seems as if the administration is finding problems with the script just for the sake of finding problems.

This issue extends past the few rallies that take place each year, however; the administration’s stringent censoring has been apparent in the annual Homecoming skits.

While it is understandable that jokes with slurs and derogatory comments that are clearly targeting specific groups should be edited out, the administration needs to exercise better judgment in the kinds of jokes that are included in the variety of school-wide events.  Yes, we understand that we should not be making jokes at the cost of another’s feelings, but there are situations where a humorous dig, whether about Los Gatos or the freshman class, can bring the school together in a moment of shared laughter.

The solution is simple. The difference in perspectives between the administration and the rally commission can be bridged by taking into account that opinions of the ASB. As student leaders, members of the ASB should have the tact and the skill to discern the offensive jokes from the funny ones, fairly and objectively.

As peers of the rest of the school, the ASB should be the primary inspectors of scripts for rallies and Homecoming Quad Days, and could better anticipate the rest of the school’s reaction. Following their review, the script would then be handed to the administration to look over.

The administration does not want to over-censor the scripts; they are simply doing the best that they can with the knowledge that they have. With students helping monitor other students, a healthier balance can be met.

The number of rallies has decreased to only three this year, and students have only a few chances left to experience what most people would call an essential part of the high school experience. The sole goal of the rally commission is to provide the student body with laughter and school spirit. Why are they being so strictly roadblocked by an administration that so constantly supports school spirit?

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