The news coming out of South Fayette School District is that of overcrowding at the high school. The building, which was constructed just a decade ago, has a capacity of 800 students. Currently, 757 are enrolled.
That number is going to continue to climb, with a projected student population of up to 1,094 by the year 2020, an increase of 16 percent.
Currently, the school board is addressing ways to deal with the overcrowding issue, including talks with architecture firm Eckles Architecture and construction company P.J. Dick – who both recently worked on the district’s new intermediate school – about a possible expansion to the building, despite the fact that the district’s debt is already fairly high.
But, South Fayette is not the only area school district with a growing student population that threatens to have the building bursting at the seams.
Peters Township High School currently has a student population of about 1,496 and a capacity of 1,500. The school underwent an extensive renovation in 2000.
Last year, we reported that at a school board meeting, a group of parents proposed building a whole new school because of the growing number of students.
That idea was quickly shot down, though the issue of a growing number of students at Peters remains.
Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair and Canon-McMillan have all renovated and expanded their high schools in recent years, due to rapidly increasing student numbers.
We are fortunate to be living in an area that is experiencing population growth. It is great for the local economy, and shows that the South Hills has the amenities – including great, award-winning school systems – that are attractive to residents and potential residents.
As the school districts move forward with their plans for expansion and renovation, we suggest that they build bigger than necessary right now. Perhaps forgo a few of the bells and whistles and put the funds into extra square footage and classrooms.
In 1816 England, “The Times of London” warned parents of a new dance called the waltz, which featured “close compressure of the bodies” and “intertwining of the limbs.”
In the 1920s, The Charleston and its association with flappers was seen as the beginning of a more casual attitude towards sex.
When Elvis Presley performed on “The Milton Berle Show” in June of 1956, his pelvic thrusts during “Hound Dog” had critics panning him, the Catholic Church urging the public to “Beware Elvis Presley” in its weekly organ, and parents around the country concerned about the vulgarity he was perpetuating and the lack of moral values in the youth fans of the singer.
The elder generation gasping in horror over the younger generation’s latest dance craze is nothing new. But, the recent closure of a Peters Township High School dance due to students “twerking” is a story that has gone viral.
The Oxford Dictionary defines twerking as “dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance.” It was made popular by former “Hanna Montana” star Miley Cyrus, whose horrendous outfits and offstage antics we find more disgusting than her dance moves.
But, one school board member chaperoning the dance, William Merrell, was particularly appalled by the teens’ moves. He suggested to the board at a recent meeting that students take dance lessons – he even went so far as to contact Arthur Murray Dance Studio to see what the students options were. Merrell felt that in addition to proper dance techniques, students would also learn social graces.
Dance lessons are not the answer, for many, many reasons.
Social graces should be taught by parents, teachers and other community members. Teenagers will be teenagers, and we can almost guarantee that if forced to take ballroom dance lessons, they would either not show up, not pay attention, or make a mockery of the whole situation – which they already are.
On Twitter, #letpeterstwerk was nationally trending last week. Tweets with photos depicting students twerking (in school, nonetheless), poorly Photoshopped staff members heads on Miley’s body and even a Photoshopped image of Miley twerking on top of the high school were on proud display. KISS 96.1 FM’s Mikey and Big Bob also got in on the action, talking about the subject on the KISS Morning Freak Show and online.
Should social graces, manners and self respect be taught at home by parents? Absolutely. Should students be twerking at a school-sponsored dance? Probably not. But, should they be requited to learn ballroom dancing? Definitely not.