Letter to the Editor: Bring Back The Pack

Dear Editor:

On January 30, 2020, a beloved Woodbury club named Wolfpack was told that it would not be able to continue the way that it has been since it was created in fall 2018. Wolfpack is a place where students express our feelings and topics we feel are important to us, such as LGBTQ rights, recycling, global warming, and other things that we disagree with. The school administration’s decision was we could no longer have Wolfpack the way we thought of it. 

Fifth and sixth graders cried as we heard the sad news. The 60 people in the group could no longer come to the heartwarming club.

The principal and the administration didn’t give us a reason until the next day when they gathered us in the auditorium. They said that they weren’t shutting Wolfpack down, but they were “restructuring” the club. 

The main idea of Wolfpack wasn’t to change things about us. It was to celebrate our differences. We told each other some of the problems we had, either at home or at school, and it healed us by just getting those ideas out there. 

The school system set the guidelines for the “New Wolfpack” strictly. For one, we could only talk about one thing per meeting, whereas the old Wolfpack was focused on letting out diverse ideas every meeting.

One example of that was when someone was talking about LGBTQ rights. That brings up many different points of interest but at the New Wolfpack we can talk about only one topic. Another guideline was that only near 30 people out of the 60 in the club could come per day. Wolfpack was all about including others. If we shut out some people from the Wolfpack, even on some days, people would still get excluded. We welcome everyone, no matter what they are like or how many previous members we have. 

Sixth grader Tejas Rajagopalan said, “Wolfpack was probably the greatest thing that I have ever done. It was so unfair and sad that Mr. Young changed this club.” 

Sixth grader Maria Bucalo exclaimed,  “I, along with many of my peers, were heartbroken at the loss of Wolfpack. Although I can understand the school perspective, the lack of communication is absurd and this is not the first time this issue has happened at Woodbury.” 

Sixth grader Colleen Grimberg said that Wolfpack was “a place where you could be included. A safe space.” 

Another sixth grader, Melanie Fogerty, even added, “The loss of Wolfpack had me at tears. My heart broke after this terrible news. Now, knowing that I won’t have an enjoyable time on Thursdays because we don’t have the whole Wolfpack there to listen to me. This is devastating news and I would wish to make a change and have a voice, but now I can’t have that opportunity anymore.”  

The school felt as though Wolfpack was inappropriate. Their decision to change Wolfpack can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Most of the Wolfpack members disagree with this new decision made by the school to change Wolfpack. For some members of Wolfpack, Wolfpack is a healing place where you can talk about what’s on your mind. For the School Administration and higher authority, it is an inappropriate place where you don’t put “closure” to anything. Mr. Young, Mr. Myles, and the administration agree with this change. Mr. Young posted in an email to parents “Rather, I witnessed students who were clearly upset verbally about sharing emotionally charged topics. This produced a troubling level of stress and created the potential for some students to experience emotional trauma.” Wolfpack students disagree heavily saying that certain phrases in this post were different than what they believed he should have written, such as “emotional trauma” and “stress”.

There are a lot of people who care about Wolfpack, but the school wanted us to restructure it. Some people feel like they lost their voices. We use one phrase for this, “Never let your howl be silenced.”

Members of the Wolfpack contributed ideas to this piece. 

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