Lack of Clean up at Malden High School Leads to Loss of Courtyard Privileges

A view of the courtyard. Photo by Idriss Touati.

Principal Chris Mastrangelo recently stated in the morning announcements that courtyard privileges were no more. Students were originally allowed to go to the courtyard during the four lunch blocks, but Mastrangelo says that these privileges were taken away because of  the lack of students cleaning up after themselves.

In the interview Mastrangelo mentioned the countless amount of warnings he and the staff sent out to the students leading up to the shut down. In his own words, “a small percentage of kids that didn’t [clean up] just affects the greater masses.” He, himself said that he actually really loves the fact that students get the opportunity to eat outside, and did not want to take this privilege away.

He says that he actually tried to solve the problem without shutting down the courtyard, by making the janitors put out more trash cans. However, students were still not cleaning up after themselves. He adds that “It’s simple respect, because eating outside is a privilege, but when you don’t treat privileges a certain way they get taken away.”

Students have also not been cleaning up after themselves in the cafeteria, causing Marilyn Slattery, the Holland house principal, to make less tables available to sit at in the cafeteria.

“This is a new phenomenon,” Mastrangelo explained, talking about an incident where a student was sitting next to a trash can, but walked away from the table leaving his tray behind. For the most part Mastrangelo was on his own to make this decision, but he did consult the staff and teachers working in the lunch room and they all agreed with him. The day he officially made the decision, he was pushed to it, due to the courtyard being a mess. As Mastrangelo put it, “it was bad out there, [there were] 8-10 trays and just trash everywhere.” Mastrangelo voiced his frustrations with this issue, saying that “this is something you learn as a child, [to] clean up after yourself.”

But Mastrangelo knows that the Malden High school students are “better than this,” and he does plan to reopen the courtyard very soon, though he has not decided on a specific date. Once it is reopened, if changes aren’t made and kids still do not clean up after themselves Mastrangelo made it clear he will reclose it for a much longer period of time, if necessary. Mastrangelo’s words to all the students at Malden High School are, “this is our school, and school can be beautiful or it can be a mess, it’s up to you.”

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