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Santa Monica High School senior students in the water polo team won't be able to participate in their annual 'Greenie Run' after Friday's homecoming rally was cancelled.
Courtesy Photo
Santa Monica High School senior students in the water polo team won't be able to participate in their annual 'Greenie Run' after Friday's homecoming rally was cancelled.

News, Samohi, Santa Monica

Santa Monica High School Principal Cancels Friday's Homecoming Rally

Posted Oct. 6, 2013, 10:00 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

The principal of Santa Monica High School has cancelled the school’s annual Homecoming Rally next Friday citing disruptive behavior from grade 10, 11, and 12 students at a school assembly on Wednesday.

Principal Eva Mayoral issued an email and phone call to parents Thursday night explaining the decision, which has angered and upset many parents and students.

“Despite several requests to cease inappropriate, loud, and disrespectful group behavior, students continued,” Mayoral said of Wednesday’s incident in the email to parents. “This behavior derailed our mandated rules assemblies. Like you, I am reasonable. I don’t expect perfection. I do, however, expect that everyone on this campus be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect. This holds true for students, as well as adults.”

Mayoral said she expected that adult authority be respected, and that civility not be thrown to the wind.

“The safety of your children depends on this,” she said. “Large numbers of students showed their house principals an unwillingness to gather with respect and civility, thereby undermining our faith that we can hold a safe and respectful pep rally of 3000 students next Friday. Furthermore, I will not place presenters in a position of having any further hard practice undermined by misbehaving mob mentality, or unwillingness to adhere to the basic etiquette of gatherings: listening and following directions. For these reasons, the pep rally next Friday has been cancelled.”

Samohi Senior Class President Alex Harros, in an email to Principal Eva Mayoral, said he and the Senior Class were “very disappointed with the decisions of our peers which resulted in the consequence of the cancellation of the Homecoming Rally.”

“Paria Sheshpari (ASB President) and I have already begun to see posts on Facebook regarding possible walkouts and other childish responses to the cancellation,” Harros wrote. “However, we are spreading the word that it is in the Senior Class' best interest to ‘not fight fire with fire,’ as Paria stated on her recent Facebook post, dissuading these rebellious ideas. We are working hard to keep the morale of our Seniors up and make the best out of the hand we have been dealt.”

Harros proposed to Mayoral to allow the Varsity Water polo team to run at the Homecoming game.

Every year the Water Polo team members -- “Greenies” -- paint their bodies at the Homecoming Pep Rally and do a "Greenie Run" at the Homecoming football game.

“When I broke the news to my fellow polo players today that the rally and the Greenie Run were cancelled, there was anger, tears, and a feeling of hopelessness on the pool deck,” Harros said. “I am sure that this gives you an idea as to what this event means to the Water Polo senior players. I won't repeat what I mentioned earlier, but I want to emphasize how we have all been waiting to run for the past three years while playing for Samohi’s Water Polo Team. Every year at the Homecoming Rally, we have watched our seniors before us, paint their bodies green and run at the rally. The anticipation has bonded us to our predecessors. We have dealt with the loss of the Run at the game because we agreed that for the time being, the Run at the Homecoming Rally would suffice. However, now that the rally is cancelled, you can see how important it is for our Varsity team to run at the game.”

He continued, “I am asking you to think of how the seniors now feel.”

“Not only are we unsure about the run during the game, but now the sense of hope surrounding the run at the rally has been eliminated,” he said. “This event is what kicks off our season--the hype surrounding the Greenie Run instills not only pride in our program, but also the confidence needed to hit the ground running for the beginning of our season.

“On behalf of the Samohi Water Polo program I am pleading with you to allow us to run during halftime at the Homecoming Game. This is about tradition. Please don't take that away from us.”

Samohi parent Dr. Sandi Leong, who has two children at the school, also wrote to Mayoral via email.

“So what is your end point? You are fearful of the mob mentality. So what are you going to do? Eliminate all rallies forever? No football games?” Dr. Leong said. “You made your point. Educate the students and allow them to try again with clear consequences. You need to be able to move forward. Rewards work better than punishments. I agree safety is important. But you need to teach and allow them to prove that they have learned the lesson. Please reconsider.”

Mayoral confirmed to The Mirror that Friday’s Homecoming rally had been cancelled.

“The decision was made at a team meeting on Thursday that included our Superintendent,” Mayoral said. “The day before during grade level rules assemblies conducted by our House Principals, students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grade assemblies blatantly disregarded the attempts of the House Principals to restore order. They engaged in chanting and inappropriate auditorium wide clapping every few words.”

Mayoral said the more requests there were to cease this behavior, the more students engaged in the behavior.

"This derailed all three assemblies,” she said. “Had this been a few students our response would have been very different. Sadly, however, it was most students. While my heart breaks for those students who did not engage in this behavior, the fact of the matter is, they were in the extreme minority. It was the fact that students en masse disregarded these administrators, and despite multiple calls for quiet attention, continued with their disruptive behavior, that undermined our ability to feel we could safely have a gathering of 3000 students in our Greek. Hence, our decision to cancel the pep rally.”

She said she had a baseline responsibility for which she was charged to keep the school’s kids safe.

“And while any number of factors outside my control could jeopardize this safety, when these are compounded with mob mentality behavior, and blatant disregard for calls for attention, my concerns rise exponentially,” she said. “It doesn't take too vivid an imagination to come upon the many reasons these days why we might need our students' attention fully and quickly. Should a danger present itself at home with just a few kids, parents are able to quickly rivet their kids into attending to their safety directions through use of tone and facial expressions, and most likely all are aware of some aspect of whatever is screaming danger. This is a much different case when you are attempting to communicate with 3000 students. None of these cues are available to students in a large group of 3000 plus. Rather, you must rely on trust that students will respect the adult authority of the school and maintain basic assembly etiquette.”

Mayoral said "all our kids are great kids" and they "simply made a poor set of decisions."

"Now we grow," she said. "We learn behavior has real consequences. Kids have been having conversations in classrooms all over campus Friday. We will grow. My hope is that we can maximize the speed and depth of this growth by working together. I'm hoping we will grow to the space where we can have many more rallies this year. But we must know the kids can be safe. Please know that I truly do get all the benefits of rallies."

She said she wanted her core to pull the kids together as a community.

"I know the power of rallies for this," she said. "But also important in building of community is how we treat one another. I am heartsick over this. I am pained that some think this is about power. I could care less about that. I have no need to wield or over-wield power. But I do have a need to do all I can to send every parent's child home safely at the end of every day, and to build Samohi as a community where everyone feels (and is) valued, safe, and in an environment where we can maximize growth and learning."

SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyon confirmed the decision was made by Principal Eva Mayoral, adding: “I support her decision.”

“This was not an easy decision for Ms. Mayoral and the administrative team to make, but after the inappropriate behavior of so many students and the unwillingness of the students to follow simple adult directions, the prospect of a safe assembly of 3,000 students in the Greek was an enormous concern,” Lyon said. “We know parents want us to create a safe, respectful learning environment for students and staff. Sometimes a step like this must be taken to ensure that such an environment is created for the entire school community.”

Post a comment


Oct. 7, 2013, 11:47:40 am

Rousseau said...

This was a great decision by the Principal. Students should learn that there are *consequences* to poor decisions. That is what happens in adulthood and it's important to learn that lesson early. Kudos to Ms. Mayoral.

Oct. 7, 2013, 1:24:38 pm

Jim said...

Collective punishment, the punishment of a group as a result of the behavior of one or more other individuals or groups, is never effective and is ranked as one of the poorest forms of discipline with the greatest potential for breeding distrust, animosity and loathing. Comment writers with the "You show'em the consequences, Principal" fail to understand the mistakes made here by adults with their assembly planning. I see an irony that all kids are to be punished for the bad behavior of some at an assembly where they were to be told the rules. I agree with MM above. Not a good start of the year for this high school. I suspect we have a young principal who has bought into the 1950's "tough guy" principal model that hasn't worked since the 50's if even then. .Good luck.

Oct. 7, 2013, 3:33:08 pm

tony said...

They are high school students. They make mistakes. I remember the Homecoming rally was the best all year, I think they should have the rally

Oct. 6, 2013, 11:01:11 am

Susann said...

Good decision by the Principal. There were three assemblies where students caused problems. Many students don't see consequences for their poor behavior. Now they do. It is unfortunate that the whole school has to suffer, however, perhaps now there will be some group pressure on the misbehaving students to stop.

Oct. 6, 2013, 11:25:07 am

englishsunset said...

I am, without words.

Oct. 6, 2013, 11:31:00 am

Debra Shepherd said...

This just goes to prove that you reap what you sow. A year ago, as the Chair of the Special Education District Advisory Committee, I and my committee requested that the District implement a District-wide policy regarding civility and respect for everyone. The Supt. and the Board President would not even put on the Board agenda for discussion. If you want kids to be respectful and civil, then you have to lead by example. Put the policy in place. Lead by example and then you can expect better results.

Oct. 6, 2013, 11:51:13 am

Carole Kealoha said...

Eva Mayoral is who Samohi needed. She is fair

Oct. 6, 2013, 12:13:08 pm

Mike Bateman said...

Heck yeah, teach those spoiled brats that life has consequences. This is a lesson they needed to learn.

Oct. 6, 2013, 12:48:35 pm

j. Jones said...

I'm With the principal, hopefully the parents will take this to heart and take disciplinary action of there own.

Oct. 6, 2013, 3:35:56 pm

douglas said...

Time to learn that high school sports and all the fuss made about and around them is disruptive to the true learning in high school.

Oct. 6, 2013, 3:55:14 pm

.... said...

She is a horrible, Horrible! principle

Oct. 6, 2013, 4:24:40 pm

Nima said...

Wow some of the people below me must have had sub par high school experiences. Homecoming is one of the most important times in high school and the lack of communication between admin and asb to come to a resolution is ridiculous. How can you expect to be respected when you can't even properly respect the leaders of the school.

Oct. 6, 2013, 4:53:39 pm

kiddo said...

i think the constant applause was for the many typos and improper grammar such as the multiple mistake of "we prohibits" instead of prohibit. also for the absurd things you can get expelled for such as tickling

Oct. 6, 2013, 6:35:05 pm

Sanatee said...

Principal Eva Mayoral sounds like a rather horrible woman. A "extreme minority" engages in "chanting and inappropriate auditorium wide clapping," and she throws a hissy? In other words a few people were too loud!!! WHAT!? LOUD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS?! This is childishness at an extreme. If there had been some indication of violence, throwing objects, or other actually harmful vice then maybe she'd have a point but this is all about: RESPECT THE AUTHORITY! but clearly she shouldn't be the authority. Awful, awful woman.

Oct. 6, 2013, 6:38:16 pm

MM said...

Is Principal Mayoral serious about disseminating new rules (problematic ones dealing with dress code) in a cold, indifferent venue with 3000 teenagers? She must have been absent from administrative training when effective principal practices were discussed. As the new principal, whom the kids know superficially and possibly not at all, she had an opportunity, along with her administrative colleagues, to fan out in smaller administrative teams to English classes or social studies classes taking a few minutes of instructional time to reveal themselves as human beings and also to review the new rules thus providing clear explanations, sensible rationale and to answer student questions. This was a mission doomed from the start --- not because of the kids but because the adults selected an insane way to transfer important information impacting these kids. Get to know your students Principal Mayoral, share information in smaller, more personal venues. Yes, it may take a bit more of your time than your one size fits all "mandated rules assembly", but the gains are spectacular in terms of school pride and morale and respect and affection for the administrative team. If you demand dignity, respect, compassion from kids, be the first to give it especially to kids who will model your behavior. Administrator Rule #2 that was violated - Never (I repeat never) punish an entire group for the bad behavior of some or a few. I suspect resentment is raging at Santa Monica and morale is seriously damaged. Good luck Santa Monica High; this is a most inauspicious start indeed with rookie administrative errors that could easily have been avoided.

Oct. 6, 2013, 6:44:34 pm

Anonymous said...

As a recent alum who sat through many a similarly interrupted assembly, this is exactly what Samo students need. On another note, general sentiment always seemed to be negative in regards to pep rallies. Perhaps that was my peer group, but besides getting out of class, they were boring, it was hot, and it was a chance for only sports to be lauded. Other groups such as marching band and color guard were never given a chance in the spotlight. Good job Mayoral. While I don't agree with all your recent decisions at my alma mater, this was definitely a good one.

Oct. 6, 2013, 7:05:42 pm

Sam said...

The students are punished for clapping? That's the nicest thing I've ever head HIGHSCHOOL students doing. Terrible decision in my opinion.

Oct. 6, 2013, 7:10:22 pm

Student person said...

Horrible decision! she's complaining about clapping and even when we did, the person on stage didn't help, he bowed..... bold decision

Oct. 6, 2013, 8:52:09 pm

Dana McCoy Asher said...

Nothing creates a big problem better than over reacting to a small problem.

Oct. 7, 2013, 4:31:50 am

Robert (Bob) Smith said...

Eva Mayoral, should have taken the time to tell the Students, in smaller groups, in their classrooms.

Oct. 7, 2013, 5:53:22 am

David Bryan said...

I applaud the principal's willingness to make this very difficult call. Obviously I do not know if her assumptions are correct, but if they are, kudos to her for sending a clear message.

Oct. 7, 2013, 8:32:58 am

Jeff Josh said...

I have to think the principal made a good decision in this matter. Unfortunately, it is so rare to see an actions have consequences approach to educating our students that I am sure most of the school and parents will turn against Principal Mayoral after this. Having worked in many school over the past 20 years, I have seem poor behavior ignored, disregarded, and even rewarded time and time again. Thank you to this principal for at least trying to uphold a sense of protocol at SAMOhi

Oct. 7, 2013, 9:31:32 am

anita said...

I applaud this principal! Kids today don't think they are accountable for any of their actions/choices. Way to teach them a life lesson and I'm sure they will definitely learn from this bad choice/behavior. It reminds me of the coach in Utah who suspended his team for poor behavior.

Oct. 7, 2013, 5:33:39 pm

Bill said...

I spent over 40 years in public education. Most of those years were as a school principal, both elementary and secondary. Very seldom did I ever use group discipline. However, in those few cases a vast majority of students were involved in the inappropriate behavior. It is a pep rally! Parents should be talking with their children about the consequences of their actions. Instead, many of them are blaming the principal. Wake up and use this situation to help your child grow and think through their actions.

Oct. 7, 2013, 6:43:22 pm

Gaidzag said...

Great decision. In case any of you think of Eva Mayoral as a Nazi, as someone who has worked with her I can tell you firsthand she is about as Nazi as Ghandi. The woman literally oozes warm fuzziness. She created Heart Day for chrisakes. And for those of you engaging in recto-vocalization about her lack of experience, Mayoral was a Samohi teacher AND house principal for years before taking charge as CEO. Her inexperience in working with kids and school admin is as nothing compared to your inexperience getting facts right. I can guarantee you 100% she took cancelling the rally about as lightly as you take a heart attack. If she says it was bad, it was pretty freakin bad. You have to remember the funniest thing about adolescents: they will demand furiously to be treated like adults, and then when they are, they can't handle it.

Oct. 7, 2013, 8:05:01 pm

Alia Mourali said...

Speaking on behalf from my attendance of the assembly for sophomores, 10th grade, there was no issue or "mob mentality" in what happened. Before the assembly was starting, we were clapping for the administration to show respect and excitement towards them for everything they have been doing. The clapping would fade in and out, while no one was even talking or on the stage. When the M House principal went on stage to talk, he was encouraging us to clap even louder! He was bowing down, chanting the year of our class, and putting the microphone towards the audience so the clapping would spill out of the speakers. Being on stage, I'm sure no teacher could have missed his actions. While all this was happening, a student had dislocated their knee! She was screaming in pain and only one teacher tried to help. Over the claps and painful screams, I did not see or hear one teacher tell students to settle down; teachers were talking among themselves as well. The one teacher who was helping out my injured classmate had called in the paramedics who came in quietly to examen her. The rest of her classmates did not go running over to see what had happened, but instead peeked their heads over the seats to get a glance at her. Suddenly we were all told to leave the building and go back to our class. During this assembly, a danger was well presented! We were all able to follow the simple command and left the building in under 2 or 3 minutes. Speaking from my class, we are mature students who could follow rules when needed. I'm unsure of how the 11th and 12th grade assemblies held up, but I'm sure they were nothing like ours. We didn't get through the assembly because we were told to evacuate the building by authority, not because we were "being disrespectful".

Oct. 7, 2013, 11:25:43 pm

Dominique said...

In the past years of attending Santa Monica High there has never been a canceled homecoming rally no matter what previous behavior has happened thus far that year . The decision was mad to assert authority over us students be cause on "excessive clapping". What is really going on is that the administration that is all new including all of those who were house principles and the new school principle want to assert that they must be respected even though they have no respect for most of the kids that attend the school . By doing this and going threw with it . This has shown all my fellow students that they are nothing more then in a manner bullies and us students will not stand for them satisfying their egos.

Oct. 8, 2013, 8:18:10 am

Lily Ann said...

The students deserved a punishment. They should learn to be more mature. No one at that age should be told to be respectful. He or she should know how to respect others.

Oct. 8, 2013, 8:22:20 am

Mary Jane said...

What a shame! Even nine-graders acted more mature than them.

Oct. 8, 2013, 11:24:04 am

Not Present said...

Note that one pep rally was held at the beginning of the school year without any incidents. The Principal and No teachers were inside Barnum Hall during this assembly. It was a free period for kids to hang out with their friends. During a Pep Rally...all teachers are present and everyone has a good time. Clearly if the NEW admin can't handle speaking to 4 different sets of kids there is a bigger problem here. Screaming at kids will not gain their respect.

Oct. 9, 2013, 4:13:51 pm

rororo said...

maybe you guys should have disclosed that dr. sandi leong's son is alex harros. that publishing her email as an "angry" parent isn't justified and in fact biased since her son is the class president. i bet other parents agree with mayoral's decision. i know how these students can be. dont think that these kids are above anything. i was there during the samo riots. i saw the mob mentality. i saw police swarm the campus and we were in lockdown for hours, sitting silently in infinite boredom. there were no iphones to keep up occupied. and the monday after, students were mad about the lockdown. they could care less about anything or about safety. one girl said she was mad because her lunch was cut short. true story

Oct. 10, 2013, 10:29:26 pm

Pedroza said...

Kudos ms mayoral, In one month you have effectively lost the respect of the student body and drained the school of its spirit. No matter how much you deny it, this is about power. You want to flex your administrative muscles and how the underclassmen that you have a zero tolerance policy at the expense of your seniors having their final homecoming rally. True the last principal did virtually nothing, but at least she didn't cancel an event so deeply rooted in the schools history to make a point, then stubbornly stand by that decision even though every student from ASB to the My little pony club can see it for what it really is. A power move.

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