Oakley raises concerns about educational system during junior meeting

The intent of the juniors counselor meeting was to provide information about everything needed for graduation requirements. However, it quickly escalated when junior Aidan Oakley jumped on stage to share his thoughts on the school system. A simple meeting with the class of 2024 led to a discussion on the current state of the educational system. 

“The school system is a joke and doesn’t spark happiness for the human spirit,” Oakley said. ”It’s not just a Har-Ber thing, it’s a country thing.” 

Oakley wanted to share his thoughts publicly because he thinks that the youth has the power in the new generation and that young people need to modernize the school system. Even though Oakley was the student who spoke out and shared his thoughts, he wasn’t the only student who agreed with him. 

“I do feel like school slows us down and is stopping our progression,” junior Carter Moss said. “Har-Ber is doing a good job of propelling students to a certain degree.”

However, Oakley’s outburst in the performing arts center caused students and teachers to be worried about the others in the PAC. 

“After Dr Griep dismissed the students, this kid jumped on stage to speak to a captive audience,” journalism teacher Karla Sprague said. ”My initial response was to make sure he knew I was listening to him and to distract him.” 

Because he wasn’t given the microphone, Sprague felt like if he knew adults were listening to what he had to say then the situation would not escalate.  

“Immediately I was like, this is a kid who wants his voice heard,” Sprague said, ”and I was willing to listen to him. I wanted to know what he was frustrated about and what he thought we could do to help alleviate his frustrations.”

Sprague’s main concern at the time was everyone’s general safety. She says that we live in a time where you have to be aware at all times of danger, but that she has never really felt like that here.

“We see and hear negative news stories all the time, and you just never know what can happen.We’re living in times where you have to be aware of potential danger,” she said. “I have never really felt like that here until now. This incident made me realize that bad things could happen at Har-Ber too. We are not immune to potential violence.”

When Principal Paul Griep was asked about the incident, he chose to not comment on the situation. 

“Unfortunately, I do not feel at liberty to discuss situations that occurred with specific students.” Dr. Griep said.

Although Oakley’s argument sparked a lot of discussion amongst the students and faculty, he said his main message was to encourage students to help change this generation, rather than frighten them.

“I was inspired by the anger of being a teen in America put in a capitalist loop who can’t do anything about the world,” Oakley said. “My end goal was to let the youth know that we are the people who can change how the world goes on from here.”