School climate is declining, how we should fix it?


Emily Waite

Manitou Springs High School just implemented a Hall Pass and Check In/Out sheet system.

Emily Waite, Reporter

Just like the rest of the world, Manitou Springs School District has been struggling with the Coronavirus Pandemic and all of its effects. Although MSSD is now back to in-person learning, the lingering effects of Covid-19 are still a big concern. While dealing with the actual virus and making sure the students and staff are safe, MSSD now has to consider how to rebuild the school culture after this major event.

Since coming back to in-person learning in August, the school climate has been declining with the way students are behaving and the way the students are feeling. “I’ve definitely felt a drastic change from sophomore year to senior year. I think it’s mostly just due to Covid and being sent home and not having the connection piece that I had before, like seeing people’s faces,” senior Cami Seal said.

According to Seal, this lack of connection has led to other problems.“The students at Manitou have just forgotten how to have a good overall school culture. In some ways, we have all just disconnected from school because of the coronavirus pandemic and have lost what it means to be a Mustang. That type of culture takes a long time to rebuild,” Seal said.

The changing school climate is on the minds of teachers as well. “What does the spirit of Manitou mean?” William Brown, a Social Studies teacher at Manitou Springs High School, asks the question that has been asked by many over the past several weeks. Brown went on to discuss the major shift that has occurred in the dynamic of the students in a way that has caused them to be disrespectful towards themselves, the staff and their environments.

This shift in the student body has been a result of many different issues. The main one being the loss of structure in a learning environment due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. “We’ve lost the structure that helped the school, the families, and the students themselves,” Brown said. The pandemic brought a lot of hardships for the students and MSSD wanted to be understanding to help the students get through this difficult time. “We wanted to show compassion. We wanted to show grace to the students,” Brown said. “The lack of structure was there because we were concerned about the students emotionally and socially, rather than academically, and we didn’t want to stress them.”

Although when the student body returned back to school, they had to adjust to the structure of high school again. For many, this was a major struggle and even caused some students to lash out. They did this in ways such as stealing from the school to participate in the “Devious Licks” trend from Tik Tok, disrespecting staff members and overall disrespecting the environment around them.

This type of behavior is not acceptable at MSHS and has caused a new pass policy to be put into place to help decrease the amount of “Devious Licks” and disrespectful behaviors that are occurring at MSHS. This is just one of the first steps to help change the culture of the student body.

As Brown said, “We need structure.” When MSHS regains the structure it had prior to the pandemic, we can then also regain a strong school culture. Although it might be a long process, it is a process that needs to happen. Like Seal said, “It’s going to take time to rediscover who we are as a school and to have pride in Manitou again.”