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Genesis petition among topics of discussion at student council meeting

Downey, Puccio disagree on gradebook petition

Noah Schwartz, Sports Editor

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(Editor’s Note: In a previous version of this article, the subhead mischaracterized the situation. The word closure has now been changed to petition.)  

Pascack Valley Vice Principal John Puccio feels that the school-wide petition that has been sent out via email to reopen Genesis during school hours “causes a divide.”

The executive student council meeting on Thursday, Dec. 13, began with a discussion regarding Valley Cup and class cause weeks, but it ended in controversy over the accessibility of student grades. The meeting was highlighted by an exchange between Puccio and PV sophomore Christian Downey.

Downey is the creator of the petition to reopen Genesis, the online portal where students can check their grades. As of Nov. 26, he has compiled around 500 signatures.

The portal has been closed since Oct. 1 during school hours and the decision was made on Nov. 19 for it to remain closed for the rest of the school year.

Downey, along with co-creator and sophomore Ellie Schaumberger, originally had the idea of collecting 600 signatures on the petition. Once it reached that number, the petition would be shown to PV Principal Tom DeMaio. At that point, the administration could either provide student access to the gradebook during the school day or he would lead a walkout that would take place during Pascack Period.

However, at the meeting, Downey said that a walkout will not take place.

“[There was] a general disapproval of [a walkout],” Downey said in an interview following the meeting. “I can’t stress this enough. There will be no walkout.”

During the meeting, Puccio said that he is against a petition being sent around to the student body using district-issued email accounts. He said that the petition creators should have brought the topic to student council members so that they could discuss the issue at meetings.

“[Sending around a petition] does not help our student body,” Puccio said.

Downey believes that administrators did not take the opinions of students seriously enough when they decided to take Genesis away during school hours for the remainder of the school year. Despite earlier meetings that took place with school administrators and student council members, Downey feels their opinions, and therefore the beliefs of the entire student body they represent were not taken enough into account.

“Such a big decision was made without student body approval,” Downey said. “The pilot program never ended and no one got the opinion of the student council and executive council. What can [the administration] take away next?”

Downey, who is not affiliated with the PV student government, said that his campaign has the support of multiple council members on both the grade and executive levels.

Despite Puccio’s comments during Thursday’s meeting, Downey said that he will continue to lead his campaign. He hopes to come to a compromise or solution with the administration before the upcoming winter break, but he will carry the movement into the new year if necessary.

“I’m not going to let an administrator’s comments really affect our movement,” Downey said. “I don’t see it as a threat.”

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About the Writer
Noah Schwartz, Sports Editor

Noah is in his fourth year as a member of The Smoke Signal, and is in his second year as the Sports Editor. Noah is excited to lead the sports department...

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Genesis petition among topics of discussion at student council meeting