Familiarity Breeds Fire

Senior courtyard overrun with juniors

Shummi Chowdhury

From April 2011:

The senior courtyard, once a rite of passage for Chamblee seniors, has now become broken by over-eager juniors.
Chamblee High School is designed with two separate courtyards for its upperclassmen, where one can enjoy lunch away from the cafeteria and the rest of the school. Recently, juniors have begun eating with their friends in the senior courtyard, officially the Levi courtyard.
Several seniors feel this is unacceptable. While there is nothing wrong with sharing lunch with friends, courtyard privileges are specific to grade, and the seniors feel they earned their right after four long years at Chamblee.
“They have their own courtyard for a reason,” said senior Yelana Sims (’11). “It’s a privilege for us [seniors].”
Technically, the courtyard privileges are given by the school and can therefore be taken away as well. The Levy courtyard was dedicated to a parent who helped create the courtyard, and therefore the seniors cannot claim it.
“It’s called the Levy courtyard, not ‘senior’ courtyard,” said Advanced Placement U.S History teacher Stephen Rubino. “If you’re not going to take care of it, you don’t have the privilege [to eat there.]”
Evidently, the seniors, fed up with this rule infraction, decided to stand up and do something. Chamblee’s Campus Supervisor, Theodore Carter, was asked to escort a group of juniors from the Levy courtyard.
“I went down there, and came to find out that [the juniors] were being invited,” said Carter. “I wouldn’t say it’s wrong if they’re invited.”
Regardless, this is still a violation of the rules. In order to go out to the courtyards, students must present an ID card, though this is hardly enforced and easy to get around. Hall monitors do not always perform a proper check.
“I think the juniors are finding other ways to get here,” said Advanced Placement Physics teacher and hall monitor Marie Johnson. “If everyone followed the policies, this would not be an issue.”
Oftentimes, seniors will date younger students and bring their boyfriends or girlfriends to the Levy courtyard, despite the school policy.
“It seems as if a lot of people feel that the rules don’t apply to them,” said Advanced Placement World History teacher Gail Barnes.
One example of this laxity of rules occurred last semester when a couple of junior boys had lockers in the senior halls. After some time, a senior, who wished to remain anonymous, went and complained to Carter, who then removed the students.
“They were always hitting on me, and they’re not even supposed to have lockers there. It’s our hallway,” said the anonymous senior.
It turns out the two juniors in question had no other options; there were no available lockers in the junior hall. They also feel they were not bothersome to the girls.
“They act like they worked so hard to get a senior locker,” said junior Erik Ramirez (’12). “It’s just a locker where I can put and take my books.”
Having lockers in the senior hallway is not the same as enjoying a nice day outside in the courtyards. For one thing, the juniors were invited by their senior friends to share lunch with them, and many seniors do not see the need in separating.
“We wanted them to come eat with us,” said senior Wendy Chuong (’11). “I don’t think we should differentiate because they’re our friends, and it’s not causing a disturbance.”
Even though some seniors may feel that this is not a problem, others have expressed discontent with their peers over this. The Levy courtyard is given to the senior class to enjoy lunch.
“You need to be respectful of your peers,” said Assistant Principal of Discipline Marcus Searcy. “If you want to see your other friends, you need to eat in the cafeteria.”