Update: Students, administrators not on same page regarding dressing rooms


The Newtonite

by Sophie King
UPDATE 10/16: In a meeting Tuesday, administrators affirmed their decision to keep the theater dressing room doors locked during the day.
Adams housemaster David Turcotte said that housemasters, along with principal Jennifer Price, would stick by their decision to keep the doors locked.
The participation and process of the meeting Tuesday, however, remains unclear. Turcotte added that he was not at the meeting. Barry housemaster Aaron Sanders also said that he was not part of the meeting and declined to comment on the issue.
“I was merely a guest at the meeting,” said fine and performing arts department head Todd Young. He declined to comment.
“At this point, students are frustrated and feel like they aren’t being heard by the administrators, which is creating a lot of hostility and, if anything, making students more determined to fight to change the decision,” said senior Natalie Burr.

Theatre Ink students protested the loss of their access to the dressing rooms during the day in a meeting with Theatre Ink faculty and fine and performing arts department head Todd Young Wednesday, after housemasters locked the doors to the theatre department girls’ and boys’ dressing rooms last Wednesday, Oct. 1.
“The worry was that students with emotional distress would use the space to perform activities potentially dangerous to the student’s emotional health,” said junior Amanda Kuo, a student producer coordinator. “Due to its isolation from the rest of the school, no adult would be able to supervise the area to prevent these dangerous situations.”
Many Theatre Ink students consider the dressing rooms to be their home within the school.
Senior Jonathan Gomolka described the space as a “safe haven,” and said that students use it to “relax, do homework, or just cry.” He added, “The whole point of the school is to find that place. People felt hurt when they were denied that.”
Gomolka pointed out that there are many unsupervised places that students could go because of the open campus policy. He argued that the dressing rooms are a “safe space” that help some students to get through the day.
Administrators will meet next Tuesday to discuss solutions to the conflict. Because students are not allowed to attend this meeting, Wednesday’s discussion was their main opportunity to advocate their opinions. Young, who was present Wednesday, will attend the administration’s Tuesday meeting.
Gomolka said that Theatre Ink students proposed two compromises to Young: an “open door policy” in the dressing rooms or the installation of windows so administrators can look inside.
“We want him to fight for us,” Gomolka said.
Senior Celia Gittleman, the stage manager coordinator, added, “There wasn’t enough communication between the administrators and students, which is why this became such a huge issue.”
After school, the dressing rooms are unlocked so students can rehearse for performances.