Redeeming Boulder High

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Halie Leland

In the midst of another Covid-19 surge, Boulder High has been getting a slacker’s reputation.

Recently, Boulder High has been getting a bad reputation. Over the past month, I’ve heard non-panthers describe BHS as “really struggling” and “dangerous COVID-19 territory.” Even when said in a joking manner, thoughts like these foster the idea that Boulder High is a careless community. It hasn’t helped that up until quite recently, the BVSD COVID-19 Dashboard listed Boulder High as the only high school in the district with any cases – probable or confirmed. This has reinforced the idea that Boulder High is not only a germ fest but that its students are irresponsible. While the dashboard now reports cases at Broomfield, Monarch, Centaurus, New Vista and Fairview High Schools, I’d like to debunk this inaccurate perception of Boulder High Students and redeem us panthers once and for all.

COVID-19 is serious and I acknowledge that many young people, BHS students included, have not been careful enough and may deserve their reputation as irresponsible. We’ve had cases come from party buses and ice-rinks. However, those cases are the ones that have been the most highly discussed and focused on – with the Daily Camera reporting that at least six COVID-19 cases, likely seven, have resulted from a series of social gatherings linked to Boulder High Students. But not all BHS kids are partiers, and not all of our school’s cases have come from party buses and ice rinks like the most highly discussed. While it’s easy to let the actions of a few represent the beliefs of many, Boulder High as a whole is not responsible for these cases. The vast majority of our students have been incredibly patient and compassionate and have consciously been making an effort to do their part to keep Boulder County safe.

There have been cases within the Boulder High Student population that do not correlate any BHS social gatherings. The fact of the matter is that however responsible a student may be, COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus. After months of following all county guidelines and staying very cautious of exposure to COVID-19, my sister—a Boulder High senior—tested positive for the virus. I couldn’t believe the news; she had been so careful. Her case of COVID-19 was not a result of reckless behavior but simply an unlucky occurrence. She is a responsible and caring community member who, throughout this entire pandemic, has done her part to protect everyone around her. Responsible high school students do exist and assuming that all young people will bring catastrophe upon themselves or a community is unfair and simply inaccurate. 

Just like much of the student body, our staff is responsible. Our school Principal, Dr. James Hill and the entire faculty have worked tirelessly to make BHS as safe as possible. Aside from the graceful adaptability, our community’s adult members have demonstrated by moving between virtual and in-person forms of education. They have done their best to monitor and safely execute in-person learning. Repeatedly, faculty members have reminded students of safety protocols and reinforced responsible behavior. They truly are trying their best and deserve credit for it. 

There’s also the simple fact that we are not alone in this. While BHS may have been the first BVSD High School with reported cases, we are not the only community COVID-19 has reached. Five other High Schools in BVSD have cases and according to the latest update, all schools are returning to remote learning because of the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the entire School District. Pointing fingers at BHS as some anomaly is unfair and untruthful.

Blaming or judging one community is the least helpful attitude to have right now. Yes, kids make mistakes and need to be more responsible, especially in a pandemic, but assuming a whole community backs those actions or has acted with malice is counterproductive. Boulder High is doing its best and some cases are inevitably going to slip through the cracks, but that doesn’t justify shaming or judging. We really are in this together and we as a County, School District and City, need to start acting like it. So if you’re a panther, help our school gain and maintain a better reputation by continuing to do your part in keeping us all safe. And if you’re not a panther, remember that we all have a part in this and while imperfect, our school deserves a chance at redemption.