The student news site of Millbrook High School

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The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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Millbrook’s New Policies

Students+at+graduation+are+shown+wearing+honor+cords.+Note+%0Anot+all+students+have+honor+cords.%0A
Photo by Wake County Public School System
Students at graduation are shown wearing honor cords. Note not all students have honor cords.

  In the last few years, several new policies have been introduced to Millbrook High School. These policies have had a significant impact on the student experience. These changes include the senior yearbook photos, seniors not wearing honor cords during graduation, and the requirements for seniors to be exempt from teacher-made finals.

  Millbrook changed its senior yearbook photo policies starting the 2022-2023 school year. Instead of the traditional drape and tux, yearbook staff felt it was more inclusive to drop this tradition so that people who identify as non-binary or gender non-conforming felt more respected. Rowan Kindle, a junior at Millbrook who identifies as non-binary, celebrated this change in light of the new North Carolina laws that restrict gender-affirming policies in schools. These laws, which target transgender youth, can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of this vulnerable group of high school students. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, non-cis-gender groups have higher odds of suicidal ideations and attempts than cis-gender groups.

  “As a non-binary student, due to the new North Carolina legislator, these steps are the exact protocols schools should be making,” they said. “It’s extremely important that the individual schools in the system do their best to accommodate students’ needs.”

  Another Millbrook policy that has generated strong reactions includes seniors’ inability to wear honor cords walking the stage at graduation. Hannah Marrow, a former student who graduated in 2022, wishes the policy had remained unchanged from the previous year when cords were allowed. 

  “I personally was disappointed that I couldn’t wear my honor cords at graduation because I put a lot of effort into those activities and I wanted to be recognized for them,” she said. 

  Dr. Saunders, Millbrook’s principal, explained that honor cords were allowed for one year in 2022, coming out of COVID-19, but that the school returned to the previous policy in 2023 in order to be consistent with what high schools across Wake County were doing. “We honor seniors earning an honor cord at Senior Assembly and we invite parents to bring those cords with them for pictures right after graduation, but for the ceremony itself, it is important to keep the focus on the Graduating Class. Each individual student is part of a much larger, significant group during that very formal event. We do allow the pins to be worn on the stole at the graduation ceremony.”

  The senior experience at Millbrook is also impacted by Wake County’s decision to change the teacher-made final exam exemption policy. As stated by WCPSS, students must have a projected final grade of B or higher and must have ten or fewer absences (excused or unexcused) in the course. This is a change from the previous policy that stated students must have a projected final grade of C or higher and no more than three absences. Dr. Saunders explained that having no more than three absences made it difficult for students to qualify. “It used to be almost unattainable. We felt if we were going to have a shot at kids trying for this, it had to be more reasonable,” said Dr. Saunders.

  However, Nicholas Rivera, a current senior at Millbrook, feels that counting excused absences towards this policy isn’t fair. “The exemption policy doesn’t make much sense given that there are many cases in which a student may have to miss school for their own or their peers’ safety, and punishing them for this by counting excused absences in the policy is not beneficial to the student or the school,” he said.

  Dr. Saunders acknowledged in certain circumstances such as COVID-19 there might be exceptions for excused absences. 

  Despite these policies, all Millbrook seniors are looking forward to graduating in June regardless.

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About the Contributor
Avery Grantham, Writer
Hi there! My name is Avery Grantham, This is my first year on the Cat Talk staff where I am a writer! I am a Senior, on the Millbrook Varsity Volleyball Team, and a member of the FFA. Outside of school, I play club volleyball at NC Academy and hang out with friends and family on the weekend. I am super excited to be on staff this year and I hope you enjoy what I write!

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