Controversy Over the Rock

By: Erin Lowenadler ’21

The rock located at the front of Bethel High School has caused much controversy and now there is a chance it will be removed.

It has been an ongoing tradition for the graduating class to participate in the painting of the rock before their senior year starts, but the past couple of months have consisted of“painting wars” where the rock has been defaced almost once every two weeks.

The controversy started last June when the Class of 2021 painted over the large ‘20 on the night of their graduation. 

Principal Christopher Troetti explained how he was disappointed to see this, since the seniors had a rough finish to their year and typically the rock doesn’t get painted until July or August to honor the graduating seniors.

However, the class of 21 took this as a challenge to paint the rock as they were excited to start their senior year, but the administration team painted it back to say “‘20” and made it clear that the rock is not to be changed until July.

July consisted of several different designs on the rock. It seemed that every weekend a different group of students went to change the colors and write on the rock.

The seniors of ‘21 made it into what it seemed like a prank war but it really did become frustrating when the writing changed every night.

Senior Nate Correard ‘21 has been looking forward to painting the rock since his freshman year.

“It has been something passed through so many classes and we were eager to keep the tradition alive,”  Correard said.Unfortunately, once school started this fall, more  controversy followed suit. And now, the rock might have to be dug up.

“We step in when we have to,”Troetti said. “The minute it becomes a controversy is where we have to step in. To the point where if it gets that bad and it creates a major disruption where people can’t focus, then the rock has to go.”

The rock was painted with statements that can be deemed as “political” that should never have been painted on the rock in the first place. 

Troetti said that there is a time and a place to make these strong statements, but the rock is supposed to honor the graduating class.

This didn’t stop the class of ‘21, as the rock continued to be altered over the span of October and November.

This has made many students, staff and families of Bethel very upset and uncomfortable.

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The seniors have to understand that the administration’s goal is to not get rid of the rock.

“We hope that people will see it for what it is, that it is a tradition for the class that is graduating; nothing more or nothing less. It’s not an advertisement for anything, it’s strictly something to say ‘here’s the class that’s graduating, we have pride in Bethel’’“.

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