The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

Power to Petition

Power to Petition

With the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory on Feb. 11, all of KC was rejoicing and preparing for a week of celebration. This included the Blue Valley community who looked forward to attending the victory parade. But we all remember that rageful feeling when we checked our emails Monday morning to see an email stating that Blue Valley Schools would be open on the day of the victory parade. 

After the email was sent out, the decision became an immediate topic of discussion, with students and staff having to adjust their plans around the day they had counted on having off. The resistance to the decision eventually came to action as a petition was drafted on Change.org. The petition ended up collecting 3,965 signatures from members of the Blue Valley community.

Some students, such as sophomore Katherine Hirschler, were sent the petition by friends at other Blue Valley schools who were also upset by the decision.

“My friend from [Blue Valley West] sent it to me, and then from there me and all my friends signed it,” Hirschler said. “I don’t think the petition is what did it, I’m pretty sure that it was because so many teachers canceled.”

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Hirshler signed the petition because she believed that the decision to keep school in session was unfair and that there would be logistical issues as well.

“I just thought it was pretty ridiculous how we didn’t get the day off just because they didn’t want it to affect one day of school,” Hirschler said. “So many teachers would’ve been gone, and everyone really wanted to go to the parade.” 

Even though students were upset with the decision, teachers also faced challenges with both the initial decision and the later changes made surrounding the school week’s new and bizarre schedule. Also, teachers are sports fans too, and some wanted to celebrate the win just as much as students. 

As the petition gained more and more signatures, word got around through the school, and eventually teachers started hearing about it. One of BVN’s government teachers Krista Chugg knew about the petition when it came out. 

“I heard about it from kids, and then I pulled it up during class while we were working,” Chugg said. “I pulled it up and there were about 600 signatures, but I was still surprised by that. And then by the end of the hour, somebody refreshed the page, and it was like over 1,000.”

Chugg, being a government teacher, found a unique interest in the petition as it displays many of the qualities she hopes to teach in her class.

“As a teacher, you’re always looking for examples or anecdotes, ‘Remember that time where this happened?’ because it helps kids remember stuff,” Chugg said. “So you better believe when I talk about petitions in class I’ll probably bring it up because that was a big thing this year.” 

The petition also piqued her interest because of the results being abnormal for most petitions.

“A change.org petition is always interesting, because with petitions sometimes there’s a misconception that if you get enough signatures, that thing always happens,” Chugg said. “But really they’re just a method to communicate public opinion. In that sense, sometimes you sign a change.org petition and something might never come of that. There might not even be an official response.”

Chugg finds that students initiating the petition is a strong way to voice students’ feelings on the decision. 

“Sometimes it’s powerful because if you’re somebody who’s making a decision, you could hear some things through the grapevine, but to see how quickly like 1000’s of people make a statement about something, it did communicate what they wanted it to,” Chugg said.

Even though the petition had a lot of signatures, it’s important to realize the potential bias of people signing it. Why wouldn’t a high school student sign a petition to potentially get a free day off of school? But still, the overall message had plenty of merit, and is why Chugg believes it might have had some indirect impacts on the final decision.

“There were a lot of people saying ridiculous things, like of course they don’t want to go to school, but there were also very reasonable points being made, and a ton of people signed it,” Chugg said. “So I don’t know if it had an impact, but it definitely got people talking.”

So, objectively, the petition was a success, and change happened. Can it all be credited to this petition though? No, it cannot. 

While the overall sentiment and movement brought by this petition are extremely encouraging and might have had some indirect impact, there is no direct way to tie it to the eventual school cancellation. There was no mention by Blue Valley that this was a reason, compared to their expressed reasons to cancel, such as staffing issues. But one can always wonder, with so many people having signed this petition, did it affect the district’s final decision? Unfortunately, we will probably never know.

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About the Contributor
Emmett Abar, Design Editor
Emmett Abar is a senior and design editor of “The North Star.” This is their 3rd year on staff. They have covered both hard news and student life. Outside of the newsroom, they play lacrosse, enjoy listening to music and hanging out with friends. They are excited to have a great last year on staff and write some interesting stories.

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