July 20, 2019


#WeAreHartford DATE: 03-16-2015

March 16, 2015- #WeAreHartford is the 21st century rallying cry that follows student action taken last week as students stood up to defend their school’s reputation, and by extension, themselves.

At last week’s school board meeting, students took a stand and addressed negative reports disseminated by the media. A group consisting primarily of members from this year’s graduating class addressed their peers at the all-school Monday Morning Meeting last week. They introduced their grievances first by showing the erroneous WPTZ News Channel 5 story that offended them with its use of stock imagery of drug paraphernalia (glass pipe, drug baggies, and a needle in the snow) spliced in amongst out-of-context video interviews with the principal and superintendent.

They then read aloud the following petition statement that they drafted:

We would like to draw attention to the misconceptions regarding Hartford High School. The students below feel safe in our school environment and believe that the media is inaccurately portraying the atmosphere of this high school.

Finally, they invited students to sign the petition and stand beside them at the March 11 School Board meeting. In the next 48 hours, the core members collected over 240 student signatures, which they presented to the board. You can watch the March 11, 2015 Board Meeting, or read more about it in the March 12, 2015 Valley News article.

Perhaps most importantly, their actions have opened a dialogue for students and staff about the realities and misconceptions about drug use in the high school. All the students that I spoke with agreed with the statement that they feel safe here. They also shared that although they believe that some students may use marijuana recreationally, it is not the majority, and they resent the fact that a “serious problem with hard drugs” has been fabricated by local media.

-Alexis Nelson