The Cold Portables Controversy (ft. Mr. Ari Worthman)


Excerpts from the March Angry Lion:

“It’s so fricking cold”

“I am a wee bit upset (and by that I mean quite annoyed) by how COLD the portables and some of the other classrooms are!”

“Seriously, how did someone get ‘Lakeside is racist’ from the decision to reopen”

“Can someone please explain how on earth going back to school is racist. Cmon.”


During These Times, Lakesiders Must Keep Things in Perspective

Mr. Worthman

The March Tatler’s “Angry Lion” section disappointed me. While I recognize we’re enduring tough times – and that high school has been upended for all Lakesiders in ways no one deserves – some comments reeked of entitlement, ingratitude, and privilege.
I firmly believe that the comments’ authors never intended to offend or harm. But intent doesn’t equal impact. By sharing my reflections, I’m hopeful these students will consider the impact of their words.
First, I found the complaints about cold classrooms nothing more than expressions of entitlement. In the COVID era, attending in-person school is a privilege, not a right. Most schools in the Puget Sound region are teaching remotely; I’m confident thousands of high schoolers would readily trade places with any Lakesider for the chance to learn in-person (as would Lakesiders learning remotely full-time because of health conditions).
Additionally, the comments are insulting to our teachers. While I doubt there is any school that has minimized health risks like Lakeside has, we can’t eliminate them. Our teachers risk their health – and the health of their families – so our students can have an in-person learning experience. Opening windows and doors are small steps that further minimize risk, and no one should complain if this provides teachers extra comfort regarding their health and safety.
I invite – even encourage – all Lakesiders to join me in expressing their gratitude to their teachers for prioritizing students’ educations over their own well-being and that of their families.
Second, to the students who dismissed concerns that reopening school is racist: if your goal is to be an ally, dismissing claims of racism is counterproductive. Racism is a complex topic, and the way people experience racism, especially people of color, is even more complex. If you don’t understand, that’s okay! Ask. Be curious. Why are members of our own community experiencing the reopening of school as a racist act? In what ways is their experience with reopening different from yours? Seek to understand, even if you don’t ultimately agree. Don’t be dismissive.
I know times are tough. A quality high school experience is something every teenager deserves, one without a worldwide pandemic. I’m sorry that Lakesiders – that all teenagers – aren’t getting that high school experience. But let’s refocus on what we have and on supporting one another.
Stop whining. And be kind to each other. 


In Defense of Whining

Tatler Editorial Board

Spring may be here, but cold portables remain. With temperatures in the forties all week, students on campus are feeling the chill. But it is not the cold that we at Tatler are worried about. What really concerns us is whether we will be expected to shiver in silence.

Every month, Tatler publishes the Angry Lion, a section that features constructive criticism of Lakeside. The Angry Lion sparks conversations about ideas that might not have otherwise gotten attention, or that may have never been voiced if not for an anonymous venue. That is why we were excited in March when students shared their complaints, and even more so when Mr. Worthman wrote a response. Initiating this sort of community discourse is one of the main reasons for Tatler’s existence.

As such, we published this special issue of Tatler to further discussion. We argue that it is far better for students to speak up and be corrected by engaged faculty like Mr. Worthman than to stay quiet. It’s undoubtedly within Mr. Worthman’s purview as a faculty member to critique student entitlement and encourage gratitude for our hardworking teachers. Our disagreement arises when he says “no one should complain if this [keeping windows and doors open] provides teachers extra comfort regarding their health and safety.”

It is important to remember that Lakeside’s comprehensive COVID safety protocols not only keep teachers safe, as Mr. Worthman noted, but also students. Moreover, low temperatures impact the entire community (unless resistance to the cold is among the many superpowers of Lakeside teachers). When students explicitly complain about a problem, they are also implicitly asking for a solution. In this case, a solution could help everyone.

The fix for cold portables may have been as easy as providing space heaters, which would not come at the expense of COVID safety. If there’s even the faint possibility of such a solution, we think everyone should make their voices heard. Just as Mr. Worthman said “don’t be dismissive” of our peer’s experiences with racism, Tatler strongly believes that student feedback should never be discouraged.

However, not all student input needs to be negative. Tatler recognizes its responsibility to convey the gratitude which Mr. Worthman called for in his response. Lakesiders have many reasons to be thankful, so in the May Issue, Tatler will publish the “Grateful Lion,” a positive counterweight to the rants in the Angry Lion.

Lakeside’s administrators can only take action once they are made aware of problems, from annoyances like cold portables to bigger-picture issues such as COVID safety and racism. Their response might be a critique similar to Mr. Worthman’s or even a tangible solution. We think both are equally valuable to the school.

Lakesiders, continue to speak up. Write emails to administrators and fill the Angry Lion with constructive criticism. As Mr. Worthman said, we are so lucky to get to learn in person and have great teachers. We’re also very lucky to attend a school where whining about an issue can enact change or initiate a dialogue like this one. So to all Lions: keep roaring. It’s in our nature.



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