The Declaration of Sentiments: The Middle School Edition

So recently, I learned about “The Declaration of Sentiments” in my Woman’s Suffrage Social Studies class. Women had to fight for the right to vote, you know, in the olden days; it’s not like today, where everyone over the age of 18 will get to elect the next president on Tuesday, November 6. No, in the 1800s, women were not allowed to vote; heck, even wearing pants was considered a no-no!! But the Suffragists were not taking no for an answer, and in 1848, they held a Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, where they presented The Declaration of Sentiments. You should read this. It’s really interesting to see what women’s lives were like in those days, and how far we’ve come. It is inspiring to see what women can do, and how much we owe to every women who has agitated for our rights to date. And also, how hard the Suffragists worked for the right to vote, which we got in 1920.

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about my rights as a student. I’m in middle school, and this is an important year for me: this is the year that my grades and test scores will determine what high school I get into. So that’s a lot of pressure. And there is soooooo little downtime, because we get tons of homework every day, in every subject. I mean, why can’t we cover all this stuff in school? When my school day is over, I need time to rest, to talk to my mom, to just veg out. And the homework, it’s just stressing me out. You hear me, right? And so I was thinking, it would be kind of awesome if students could write their version of the Declaration of Sentiments, to our teachers. Here’s where I’d start.

The Declaration of Middle School Students When, in the course of our middle school years, it becomes necessary for teachers to usurp our free time by inundating said students with loads of homework, a decent appreciation of intent must be addressed. Ergo, we students feel compelled to review said mandates.

  • At the sound of the dismissal bell, we students should be able to breathe, without a large, textbook stuffed bag, as we walk home to our families.
  • We should be able to feel happiness and light when the school day ends, not dread and panic, knowing we have several hours of homework ahead of us and no downtime.
  • Although the Department of Education does not agree with the needs of students after school, we too, do not agree with what is dictated by the adults.
  • The cruel history of large amounts of homework and teachers having no empathy, ignoring the dark circles under our eyes or our sallow complexion, needs to come to a end. We have proof. And now we shall let our truth be told.
  • To wit:
    • Our teacher has never let us leave a moment early, not without the drone of  “We still have 30 second left!”
    • Our teacher has never let us have to joy of having a homework-free day.
    • Our teacher has never not-denied the joy of sunlight and going outside after school, preferring instead to render us homework-bound.
    • Our teacher has never let us do our homework in class, thereby circumventing the aforementioned daylight-deprivation.
    • Our teacher has never given us homework that our own parents understand. In particular, what is the point of this “new math”? Whatever happened to regular multiplication?
  • Now, in the view of this entire community, on the view of all homework giving rights, we the students are sick of having no social life. We feel ridiculed, deprived of our rights as American citizens of the United States of America. Middle school students are people do.
  • We shall do all we can to change this: we shall make posters, we shall make petitions and do all we can do to solve this torture.
  • We hope this statement will change the volume of our homework, reducing it to none.

I mean, a girl can dream, right? At the very least, I know when I am 18, I can vote in a general election. And that’s thanks to the very great First Wave of Feminists, the Suffragists.

(Image via ShutterStock.)