REACH, the student-run community service organization, has not been able to renew its status as a Miramonte club this year because of the administration’s enforcement of district rules regarding clubs which hold off-campus events.
“We hope to be back as a club next year,” said junior REACH co-president Kathleen Stanaro. “But this year the administration is really cracking down on liability issues. Technically, to be a Miramonte club, we have to have a teacher present at every single one of our off-campus events, which, since we have so many off-campus events, we weren’t able to organize this year.”
According to Associate Principal Sharron Bartlett, the district rules regarding club events which take place off-campus had been around for a while before the administration began to enforce them this year.
“I think that there was a review of how all the schools were chartering clubs, and that brought to light the discrepancy,” Bartlett said.
This is the first year REACH has run into problems with the administration over liability.
Because it is no longer a club, the only places on campus where REACH can advertise are the community bulletin boards in front of the Administrative and Counseling offices. Stanaro said that the limited amount of advertising REACH is able to do on campus has become a “huge problem.”
“In the past we advertised through things like the Parents’ Bulletin and leadership notifications that were sent out through e-mails to students, but because we’re not a Miramonte club, we can’t do either of those things,” she said.
Recently, REACH has been having problems finding a critical number of students to participate in its different community service events, ostensibly due to the lack of advertising. REACH officers worry that these problems will only get worse next year if they are unable to reinstate their club status.
“If we’re not a Miramonte club next year by the time the Club Fair comes around we won’t be able to get the same e-mail list as we got this year,” Stanaro said. “This year we were a club during the Club Fair and so we got everyone’s e-mail. If we’re not a club next year, we won’t be able to do that.”
Miramonte’s other major community service club, Key Club, has thus far been able to find district employees to attend all of their events, and so has been allowed to remain a club.
Stanaro said that she wished the administration was more cooperative in helping the REACH officers find a solution to the liability issues. “At Acalanes, they have a mandatory community service program, so we should at least have a program for students to turn to,” she said.
“These aren’t our rules,” said Bartlett. “These are district policies that all the schools follow. It’s not that we don’t like REACH, and it’s not that we don’t applaud the idea of volunteerism, it’s just that we have to follow the district guidelines.”
Although REACH is no longer a club, community service hours that students log with REACH are still acknowledged for community service awards.