As you walk into Principal Figgins’ office, your heart races. You know this meeting won’t go well. Figgins has been pushing for changes at the school that undermine the arts programs you’ve worked so hard to build. You’ve avoided direct confrontation thus far, but you can no longer stay silent. The arts are essential. The students deserve so much better than what Figgins has planned. You take a deep breath and knock firmly on the door. When Figgins greets you, you launch into an impassioned speech about the arts programs, holding nothing back. The students are worth fighting for, and you will do whatever it takes to ensure their opportunities aren’t limited by shortsighted policies. This is your chance to stand up for what is right.
Emma Confronts Principal Figgins Over Unfair Treatment
As the principal of your high school, it is your responsibility to ensure fair and equitable treatment of all students. Your decision to suspend Emma for confronting a teacher’s unfair treatment of a fellow student calls that responsibility into question.
Emma witnessed Mrs. Dawes, an English teacher, criticizing and embarrassing a student for expressing a thoughtful opinion that differed from her own. Such behavior can severely damage a student’s self-esteem and love of learning. Emma courageously spoke up to defend the unfairly treated student, yet you chose to suspend Emma for three days for “disrespecting” Mrs. Dawes.
Your punishment of Emma for standing up against injustice and abuse of power sends the wrong message to students. It signals that blind obedience and deference to authority are more valued than moral courage, empathy, and fairness.
Rather than suspending Emma, you should have commended her for defending a vulnerable peer and used this as an opportunity to reiterate to staff the importance of respect, sensitivity, and open-mindedness. You need to make amends with Emma and clarify to students and teachers that dissent and speaking up against injustice are not acts of disrespect but of civic responsibility.
Re-evaluating this situation and your reaction to it will help create an environment where students feel empowered to think critically and voice their opinions without fear of disproportionate punishment or backlash. I urge you to overturn Emma’s suspension immediately and meet with her to apologize. Our students deserve nothing less from their leadership.
The Heated Exchange – Emma Stands Up for What’s Right
While meeting with Principal Figgins in his office, Emma argues her case for changing the school curriculum to include more diverse perspectives.
Emma expresses her concern that the current curriculum promotes a single story – that of white, Western culture. She argues that students would benefit from exposure to more diverse authors and stories from other cultures. Specifically, she recommends including books from African, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cultures to provide students a more global perspective.
Principal Figgins counters that the current curriculum meets state standards and questions whether there is room to make changes. He also expresses a belief that classics from Western culture are an important foundation for students.
Emma acknowledges the value of Western classics but argues that they do not represent the diversity of human experience. She points out that marginalized groups deserve to have their stories told and see their experiences reflected in the curriculum. Exposing students to more diverse stories would promote understanding and inclusiveness.
While Principal Figgins sees her point, he questions whether there are enough high-quality, age-appropriate books from diverse authors to make major changes to the curriculum.
Emma provides several concrete examples of award-winning books from diverse authors that would be suitable for the curriculum. She argues that making an effort to include even a few such books would send an important message to students from marginalized groups.
Principal Figgins agrees to review some of the book suggestions and consider piloting a few for potential inclusion in the curriculum. He thanks Emma for bringing this issue to his attention and for providing reasonable solutions and recommendations. Emma leaves the meeting hopeful that she has started an important conversation and process of positive change.
Aftermath – Will Emma Face Consequences for Arguing With the Principal?
After confronting Principal Figgins in his office, Emma may face consequences for her actions. As an authority figure at the school, arguing with and disrespecting the principal is typically not tolerated.
It is likely Emma will receive some form of disciplinary action for her behavior. This could include detention, suspension, or potentially even expulsion as a worst-case scenario. While expulsion seems unlikely given Emma’s otherwise good standing as a student and member of various school programs, the principal may feel the need to take serious action to maintain control and order.
At a minimum, Emma should expect a stern warning about her conduct and a conversation with her parents or guardians. They may be asked to meet with Principal Figgins to discuss the situation and ensure proper respect will be shown going forward. Emma may also face restrictions regarding her extracurricular activities or leadership roles as punishment.
Beyond any official discipline, Emma’s argument with Principal Figgins may have damaged their working relationship and mutual trust and respect. His view of her as a model student and leader at the school may now be tarnished, making future interactions tense and difficult. Emma will need to sincerely apologize for her behavior and words to begin repairing this relationship.
While confronting authority and standing up for one’s beliefs is admirable, there is a proper way to do so that does not involve personal attacks or disrespect. Emma now understands this distinction and will need to be extremely professional and courteous in any future disagreements with Principal Figgins or other faculty members. With time and effort, she can work to rebuild trust, but she must be prepared to face the initial consequences of her actions.
The meeting with Principal Figgins left Emma feeling a mix of emotions. On the one hand, she was pleased that he took her concerns seriously and agreed to make some changes to improve the learning experience for her and other students. However, his dismissive attitude and reluctance to take real action were frustrating. While small wins should be celebrated, there is still much work to be done to create an equitable and inclusive learning environment for all.
As students, you have a right to a high-quality education in a place where you feel respected and supported. Do not be afraid to speak up respectfully and advocate for yourself and your peers. Significant change is often incremental, but that does not make it any less meaningful or impactful. With compassion and perseverance, students working together can achieve great things. Though progress can feel slow, do not lose hope – your voice and experiences matter. Together, we can build a better future.