Good Bye to Our Beloved Textbooks
October 28th, 2004
The recent textbook shortage has caused much trouble in Stuyvesant. We’re short over 6,000 books, students are finding out that they’re registered for missing books they’ve already returned, and the school is practically blocked up during lunch periods. All this hassle has caused a number of reactions from students, ranging from concern, to apathy, to amusement.
When Principal Stanley Teitel first came onto the loudspeaker to talk about this problem, it elicited laughs from many students. The fact that Stuyvesant is missing such a large number of books is absurd.
“I think it’s funny as hell! I owe four books!” says junior Christopher Figueroa, showing just how much the student body doesn’t care about the book shortage.
This matter has to be taken seriously. With everyone already complaining about the recent budget cuts, the last thing this school needs is a book shortage. “I think it's ridiculous. There should have been stricter procedures before to make sure all books borrowed from the school were returned,” said senior Kazi Sanam, echoing the concern that many other students have. It is unfortunate that the current system for returning books can lead to many potential problems. Most of the time, students just leave the textbooks in a pile when they come in to take a final or regents. These books can be easily stolen, overlooked, or go un-scanned by a faculty member.
Although we’d like to blame this whole mess on some irresponsible teachers who don’t scan books properly, it is obvious that many students actually do owe books. Sanam also said that “Many [students] wait until senior year to get their book accounts cleared.” Students who do this are being very selfish and irresponsible. Why would anyone keep books at home is they’re not using them? Meanwhile, other students have to share books or borrow them from the library. Teitel announced on the loudspeaker that day that there are about 2000 books missing that the freshmen need. These books, if not returned, will have to be replaced and the school will have to spend more money.
The school administration is now trying to counter the problem and has come up with a solution that is wasting everyone’s time. Before they let you go outside for lunch, the security guards have to check your ID to a booklist to see if you are missing any books. If you’re on the list, you stay inside. If you’re not, a red stamp is placed on your program card and you’re free to go.
This policy causes long lines and cuts back on the time students have to go out. What’s even worse is that it also affects those who do not owe any books because they have to wait in line with everybody else. Having so many people stay inside isn’t much better either. This can lead to overcrowding in the cafeteria and library, not to mention that going outside gives students many more choices in food and activities.
All of this inconvenience might not even be worth it due to its limited effectiveness. Many students would rather stay inside if they owe books. Others are being charged for books that they have already returned and some who do owe books manage to slip through. If you can get a teacher to sign your booklist, stating you have returned the book, you’re excused. As for the red stamp that has to be placed on your program card, it has also proven itself to be ineffective. When asked how he went out for lunch even though he owed books, Figueroa said, “All I needed was a red pen.”
Whether or not this new policy will be effective in the long run is still yet to be seen. But in the meantime, everyone who owes books, return them or pay for them. It is crucial that we get all these books back because there are so many students waiting to use them. There are also better things that the school can spend money on other than replacing books that some students are too lazy to bring in. Waiting until senior year to return books is pointless since you can return them now. Why add to the budget problems the school already has, and take up valuable lunch time waiting in long lines when you can so easily solve the problem by bringing your old textbooks to school?
And if all else fails, think of a poor freshman running around the building looking desperately for a book to study for his biology test.