After students rise each morning to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, they stand in unison for a few seconds of held silence and then return to their seats, unfazed and often not caring about what the moment represents.
However, this is no longer the case as Principal Rinaldi has extended the moment of silence at Westhill High School to range anywhere from 20-30 seconds long.
Although 30 seconds may not sound like a long period of time, students have begun to notice the difference and have felt awkward during this time, thinking that the extension was a possible mistake.
Due to the fact that the majority of students do not truly utilize the time given to them during the moment of silence, it is believed that extending the silence will allow students to reflect upon their inner thoughts, possibly mourning a loss or thinking back upon an event that recently occurred.
“The moment of silence was long enough, at a certain time, where people could pray if they chose to, or could contemplate their day, or gather their thoughts. What I’ve noticed over the years… is that the moment of silence had become this split second of a moment. My first initial thought was that if we have that moment of silence, and it is for people to be able to have that time to reflect and go inside, a second or two is not really doing that justice. This is a time for mindfulness,” Mr. Rinaldi (Principal) said.
The moment of silence can mean something different to each individual, or it can mean nothing at all, but the school still wants to make it accessible to all students to use as they choose.
Many students think that the longer moment is more of a negative than a positive, as the time is too long to the point where individuals lose focus or daydream.
“I don’t believe the longer moment of silence is necessary. Kids are not using the time as intended, and are becoming distracted or bored during that time,” David Sagastume (’19) said.
Some students enjoy the fact that it was made longer, as they think it is a useful tool to begin the day with.
“I was unaware that the silences would be getting longer when they first started and was confused by the length. I now know that it is a time for self-reflection that I value,” said Gabby Lovishuk (’19).
Westhill wants the moment of silence to be used by students for their own benefit, not a time when they quickly stand for a few seconds before returning to the lesson at hand.