Column: Student stands up for quality education


Allie Peregory,Editor-in-Chief

Allie Peregory,Editor-in-Chief

Rarely am I at a loss for words. I always have an opinion, and I am never afraid to make that opinion known. But when it comes to Duncanville’s latest YouTube sensation sophomore Jeff Bliss, I do not know what more could be said. This student has courage, and while he took a brazen approach to address his concerns, Jeff made a statement. A statement that has echoed loudly at DHS and around the globe.

Jeff was recorded on a classmate’s phone as he made an impassioned statement in front of his history class addressing his disappointment in the way his teacher addressed his question about learning. What happened from there was recorded on the video seen  here.

I applaud Jeff. He stood his ground while clearly and logically articulating his argument. The principle of what Jeff said hit the nail on the head. Too many teachers come into their classrooms everyday doing a mediocre job without really striving to go the extra mile to engage students in their class.

With that said, there are teachers at DHS who do not fail to engage students. I have had several teachers who have made me look forward to their class and be excited to sit in on their lectures. These teachers truly live up to the district mission of “engaging hearts and minds.” My education has been blessed by caring, loving individuals that consistently facilitate an environment where I have flourished. Thankfully, Duncanville is a place where we have more great teachers than, in Jeff’s words, teachers who “just hand [students] a freaking packet.”

While I give Jeff major kudos for his brave display, I can not support the method in which he voiced his opinion. This level of frustration was obviously accomplished over a long period of what Jeff has perceived as educational neglect. Jeff is a high school dropout who returned to school because he has a newfound value for education.  He along with others deserves nothing less than a quality, fulfilling education. The teacher in the video has a disconnected, indifferent attitude, but there is still a point where his blatant disrespect can not be ignored. If it is acceptable for Jeff to stand in front of a classroom and lecture his teacher there is no clear line of what is acceptable for other students. Passion is great. Passion presented in a respectful manner is even better.

However, there comes a level of frustration where I can understand Jeff’s outburst. It is easy to be quick to support the teacher in this situation and write Jeff off as an unruly student, but this is an opportunity to open our eyes and hold teachers responsible for their actions as well. Teaching is a daunting task and students will act out, but respect is a two way street. Cursing at students, going off on a power trip, belittling or simply ignoring student needs is never acceptable.

In all, I am proud of Jeff. He acted without reservation and has presented teachers everywhere, not just Duncanville, with a challenge. Teachers need to honestly evaluate themselves. Has their class become a place where everyone is going through the motions, or are their students actively engaged in every lesson? Jeff will have his 5 minutes of fame, but I can only hope his message has left a lasting impression.